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Vuelta a Espana

Jan Bakelants offers resistance to the peloton

A new bunch sprint was expected in the third stage of the Tour of Spain, the last one on Dutch soil, because of the entirely flat course around Breda. However, Jan Bakelants offered resistance for a long time with six other riders in an early breakaway. The 35 year old winner of the final stage of the Tour de Wallonie rode in the lead of the race for 170 kilometer before the sprinters battled for the win.

Gerben Thijssen, the protected rider of the World team, received green lights to start the stage after examinations of his ankle in the hospital of Amsterdam. Despite the pain, he was in the mix in the final and finished fifteenth. Tomorrow, the riders will have a rest day after the transfer to the Basque Country.

« Our sprinter Gerben Thijssen is injured after yesterday's crash, so we opted for an alternative strategy. Taco van der Hoorn has shown in the past that it is possible to resist to the peloton with an early breakaway on Dutch soil. It is not easy for the peloton to close a gap to a solid group of riders working well together on roads with numerous technical parts. So that's why I attacked from the start, together with six other strong riders. But the peloton started controlling quite early and we never received an advantage of more than three minutes. I knew that it would be difficult, because I expected an acceleration in the peloton before the crosswinds section. We continued to fight even when the peloton was just behind. I can be satisfied about our first day in the front. »

« After yesterday's crash we were afraid that I wouldn't be able to continue this Vuelta. Because of heavy pain in my ankle, I needed assistance from a wheelchair after my return from the hospital in Amsterdam. Examinations excluded fractures, so I was allowed to start today. I was really looking forward to this Vuelta, so it would have been a serious disappointment if I would have to leave in this way. That's why I'm so happy to cross the line today. It was a difficult day, but I kept fighting despite the pain. I know that I am stronger after each setback, so I'm confident that I will get through the rude stages in Spain. My next sprint opportunity is at the end of the eleventh stage and I really want to grab it. »


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