Graat sprints to victory in GP Palio del Recioto
Tijmen Graat has won the 60th edition of the GP Palio del Recioto in fine fashion. The 20-year-old rider of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team beat Giulio Pellizzari in a sprint in the hilly Negrar. Johannes Staune-Mittet finished fifth despite a late crash.
With 25 kilometres remaining, Tijmen Graat and fellow Italian escapee Giulio Pellizzari surged out of a group including Johannes Staune-Mittet, who finished third last year, and Menno Huising. In the two-man sprint, Graat proved to be the strongest. “I didn’t expect to win here after a sprint. I know I am a strong climber, but I am not a sprinter”, the 20-year-old Dutchman said. “I didn’t have much faith in it. But you always have to believe in it, and I did today. I am so happy I made it. I also rode this race last year, but I didn’t perform as well. I’m ecstatic with this victory.”
"We have such a strong team. It’s unbelievable"
Team Jumbo-Visma’s development team performed well for the second consecutive day in Italy. “We have such a strong team”, a euphoric Graat said. “It’s amazing how well we get along with one another. We genuinely give one another everything.” Johannes Staune-Mittet had already won the Giro del Belvedere on Monday.
“After yesterday, we have won another prestigious U23 race”, a proud sports director Robert Wagner said. “The winners of these races have gone on to have successful professional careers. It was a fantastic day. The way we rode as a team today was amazing. Even though it was exciting for a while as Tijmen and Pellizzari were evenly matched on the last climb.”
"The way we won this race was great"
“Tijmen is not known as a sprinter, but he did everything perfectly. He just needs to learn to zip up his jersey for the photos”, Wagner said with a smile. “Winning a race is always wonderful, but the way he handled it was pure class. He is going through a huge development, which is fantastic. For a brief moment, Johannes appeared to be competing for a podium spot, but unfortunately, he crashed. Tijmen was consistently in a strong position thanks to Menno and Owen, who also rode a superb race. We are very proud.”
For Graat, it is his third victory of the season after a stage win and the overall classification at the Istrian Spring Trophy. The Team Jumbo-Visma Development Team victory tally now stands at six.