Tuesday 20 August 2019

Kruijswijk celebrates podium finish at end of closest Tour de France in years

Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk on Stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France, which he finished in third place.

Kruijswijk on stage 20 of the Tour. Photo: Belga via HH

Steven Kruijswijk has become the second Dutch rider in as many years to finish on the podium on the Tour de France after crossing the line in Paris.

The 32-year-old from Nuenen finished one minute 31 seconds behind Egan Bernal, who at 22 is the youngest winner of the Tour for more than century and the first Colombian to win the prestigious race.

The first four riders were separated by less than two minutes in one of the closest races ever.

Kruijswijk paid tribute to his Jumbo Visma team-mates, including Belgian Laurens de Plus, as he reflected on the best result of his career ‘so far.’ ‘We’re going to enjoy this. I’m very happy to be on the podium,’ he said. ‘We can be very satisfied with how we rode over the three weeks.’

Kruijswijk’s third place capped a successful tour for Jumbo Visma, who claimed three individual stages wins for Dylan Groenewegen, Wout van Aert and Mike Teunissen as well as the team time trial.

In the traditional showpiece finale on the Champs-Élysées, Groenewegen was edged out by Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan, who took his third stage win of the Tour.

Teunissen became the first Dutch rider to wear the leader’s yellow jersey for 30 years following his surprise win on the first stage. He held the race lead for two days before being overtaken by Frenchman Julien Alaphilippe.

Kruijswijk is the ninth Dutch rider to finish in the top three on the Tour and gave Dutch fans reason to cheer in the absence of last year’s runner-up Tom Dumoulin, who was unable to compete because of a knee injury.

The only Dutchman to win the race, Joop Zoetemelk, said his compatriot was a potential future race winner. ‘I’ve enjoyed watching Kruijswijk,’ he told NOS. ‘He’s on the podium and if you can make it there, you can go two steps higher.’

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