Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour

Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour

Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Kooij finished ninth. The victory went to Yentl Vandevelde, who had escaped early. Kooij continues to wear the white jersey.

On the second day of the ZLM Tour, the riders were presented with the longest stage. From the start in Westkapelle, the peloton headed east, where it completed the local laps in the finish town of 's-Heerenhoek some two hundred kilometres later.

A lead group of eight riders formed soon after the start. In the early stages, the peloton, controlled by Team Jumbo-Visma, was split several times due to strong winds. The escapees built up a lead of just over four minutes. The peloton struggled to close the distance on the escapees while maintaining a fast pace in the final kilometres. Kooij eventually crossed the line in ninth place.

"It's a shame. I wanted to sprint for the win here.”"

Olav Kooij

"It was a fast stage”, Kooij said. "There was a lot of wind, but not enough to form big echelons. After that, many teams looked to us to help them catch up to the front group. There was some cooperation between the teams at one point, but it didn't quite work out. It's a shame. I wanted to sprint for the win here.”

Tim van Dijke was part of a strong Jumbo-Visma team today but also saw a missed opportunity. "I still don't understand what exactly went wrong. Forty kilometres before the finish, we were told that the gap to the escape was one and a half minutes. A few kilometres earlier, it was three and a half minutes. That caused confusion because the gap couldn't have shrunk that fast. It's annoying for us but excellent for the escapees. Stages like this make cycling exciting.”

"It certainly wasn't down to the team's effort. We wanted to prepare the best possible lead-out for Olav. It worked very well on the Heistse Pijl last Saturday. Today it went wrong, but we will see how we can do better next time”, the 23-year-old Zealander concluded.

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