Wednesday, July 28, 2021
HomeThe VeloVeritas YearsThe VeloVeritas Years - 2016: Steven Kruijswijk Wipes Out in the Giro

The VeloVeritas Years – 2016: Steven Kruijswijk Wipes Out in the Giro

-

You’re in the form of your life, you’ve breasted the biggest climb of the race with the ‘Bigs’ and there’s just one mountain stage to go before you become that rarest of birds, A Grand Tour Winner. But you lose concentration for a moment on the descent, smack a snow bank and come down hard.

There’s none of that ‘sportsmanlike waiting’ nonsense from your erstwhile riding companions – they attack you, ride hard and the next day they will bump you off the podium completely. It was hard not to feel sorry for Steven Kruijswijk over those last few stages of the 2016 Giro.

But professional bike racing at the highest levels isn’t for the faint hearted…

* * *

This article first ran on 29th May, 2016

Steven Kruijswijk

The Steven Kruijswijk crash, would you have waited?

Wee Esteban says:

“I’m very sorry for the crash of Steven Kruijswijk, unfortunately it’s a part of bike racing and he was unlucky today.”

Either way, it was a horrible crash – the Dutchman seemed paralysed with fear, it didn’t look like he even tried to steer round that bend.

My take?

If they’d waited, the result would have been the same – Steven Kruijswijk was obviously banged up pretty badly – but Nibali and Chavez would have earned so much more respect from ‘old school fools’ like me.

And if I’d been Chaves’ management I’d have said to lay off with the Spumante spray as a wee mark of respect to a fallen rival.

But then I’m a dinosaur, I’ll be extinct soon.

We missed all the drama, having embedded on the Cima Coppi, the Giro’s highest point.

Steven Kruijswijk
The bigs labour past. Photo©Ed Hood

Steven Kruijswijk looked fine to us at about 1500 metres to go to the summit of the Agnello but it was difficult to get a really good look at anyone amid the snow and with visibility down to about 10 yards with the low cloud.

Steven Kruijswijk
Hubert Dupont and Diego Ulissi. Photo©Ed Hood

Scarponi was first up to take the prime money, then his former breakaway companions in ones and twos.

Steven Kruijswijk
Riccardo Zoidl and Manuele Mori. Photo©Ed Hood

Nibali lead Kruijswijk, Chaves and Majka – Zakarin had been dropped and therein lay the roots of his crash, over-cooking the descent in his desperation to get back.

Steven Kruijswijk
Albert Timmer. Photo©Ed Hood
Steven Kruijswijk
Pieter Serry. Photo©Ed Hood

It was plane crash stuff behind the leaders, men all over the mountain with Betancur stone last and destined to pack.

And it wasn’t just ‘also rans’ – hard guys like Timmer and Serry suffering like dogs.

We jumped in behind the convoy to get us off the hill and the irony was it was bright sunshine just off the summit.

We headed for our digs as Nibali headed for the stage win and Chaves the pink.

And last words on Vincenzo’s rebirth from a cynical friend of mine in Texas:

“I’m puzzled by everybody’s amazement by Nibali’s resurrection.

“It’s quite simple; if your blood is too thick, or you have too much of it, a versed eastern European Medicine man will set enough leeches to relieve you of the problem.

“The bad blood is gone, and you feel lighter and quite relieved.

“The following morning double the amount of Nutella on your baguette, and Presto!, you feel rejuvenated.

“Nothing negative so far regarding anybody being positive – perhaps we have to wait until a few weeks or month later.”

Saturday saw us back in the mountains, three big climbs, the middle one, the Bonette over 2,700 metres, again.

A truly savage day with the first climb – the Col du Vars – rearing straight out of the start town of Guillestre.

We holed up into the last kilometre of the day’s third monster, the Lombarda.

It was all to play for with Nibali’s tail up after his win the day before, Chaves visibly tired and Valverde desperate to make the podium and topple Kruijswijk.

Steven Kruijswijk
Darwin Atapuma. Photo©Ed Hood
Steven Kruijswijk
Alexander Foliforov. Photo©Ed Hood

Our spot was perfect, after winner Taaramae, Atapuma and the other breakaway survivors like TT winner Foliforov had dribbled past, Nibali’s team mate Kangert exploded like stage one of a booster rocket after doing his job for ‘The Shark’, just below where we were standing and it was all down to Vincenzo.

He ripped past us a picture of concentration.

We watched his decent off the Lombarda on TV, later – wild.

Chaves had looked tired to us on Friday but we didn’t expect him to run out of gas quite so spectacularly.

But second in a Grand Tour behind Astana, Vino, Vincenzo and his mighty Astana machine is a great result for the little Columbian.

The GreenEDGE team is full of big strong boys – too big for the mountains but Astana is full of tough, wiry climbers who give total commitment to their leader.

They killed off Dumoulin in the Vuelta last year and did the same to Chaves in this race – tactically, they’re brilliant.

Steven Kruijswijk
Kanstantsin Siutsou. Photo©Ed Hood.
Steven Kruijswijk
Prime Roglic. Photo©Ed Hood

It was a day when everyone suffered, even strong men like Siutsou and Roglic

A collapse which went largely unnoticed on this day was that of AG2R’s top ten GC rider, Pozzovivo who came in with the gruppetto @ 45:06 – ouch!

Another big loser was Cunego; Sky’s Nieve was in the break of the day and scooped up enough points to pinch the blue jersey from the little Italian.

Merhawi Kudus. Photo©Ed Hood

But nice to see the Kudus fan club in action!

Stone last when they passed us was stage winner, Trentin, but he must have rejoined on the descent to finish with the gruppetto.

Last man on the finish sheet was Grosu (Nippo & Romania) @ 47:50.

The last stage in Grand Tours can be a bit of a bore – this one wasn’t.

Chute! Photo©Ed Hood

Lotto Jumbo making a point with their escape – which was only caught very late – on the finish circuit; Chaves on the deck; Sutterlin and van Zyl crashing out and Nizzolo declassed.

The crowds were vast, it was actually scary at the death fighting through the throng.

Maarten Tjalingii and Jos Van Emden. Photo©Ed Hood

The two Jumbo boys – Tjalingii and Van Emden took a bit of catching and made sure the circuit was no promenade.

The crash was a belter with Chaves on the deck and Uran looking hurt but not as badly as Sutterlin and van Zyl who both had to climb into the ambulance.

Getting untangled. Photo©Ed Hood

The crash contributed to the race exploding with groups all round the circuit making it difficult to tell what the heck was happening.

Damiano Cunego. Photo©Ed Hood

The last couple of laps were ‘warp speed’ with little climbers like Cunego just willing it to end.

We saw nothing wrong with Nizzolo’s sprint – it was the same scenario to us as when Greipel beat Ewan on Stage 12 – but we’re not on the jury…

Il vincitore. Photo©Ed Hood

Nibali wins his second Giro to go with his Vuelta and Tour wins – a wee bit of a ‘back from the dead job’ given that on Thursday there was talk of withdrawing him from the race because his form was so bad and medical tests were being done to assess his condition.

Good to see Valverde take his eighth Grand Tour podium – the Spanish record is Indurain’s nine – but we were sorry to see Cunego lose the blue climbers’ jersey on Stage 20.

And the final stats:

  • 3,463.1 kilometres in 86 hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds – an average speed of 40.014 kph.
  • 198 starters, 156 finishers.
  • Last finisher, Jack Bobridge (Trek & Australia) @ 5:08:51.
  • Most stage wins for Germany: seven.
  • Most kilometres ‘up the road’ – Daniel Oss (BMC & Italia) 557 kilometres in the breakaway.

This Easyjet luxury flight will end soon and we’ll touch down at Turnhouse – no more nice ‘stampa’ sticker on the car, Gazzettas, T-shirts and shorts to work in – and good coffee can only be found at places you can number on the fingers of one hand.

It’ll be harder to believe that “tutto rosa della vita“.

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 19, Gravellona Toce – Cervinia; Aru Takes His Gift

It was nice to wake up in the shadow of the Matterhorn this morning; imposing, snow capped and stunning against a picture post card blue sky. Yesterday? There's a clue in what Contador, Aru and Landa call themselves; "professional" cyclists. It's a job, a commercial enterprise, a way to make money for riders, sponsors and organisers. The way we read yesterday is that Alberto is due a big favour from Astana whilst Landa is due one from management and Aru.

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 1: Stage 15, Forlì – Faenza

Coming down the stairs at 05:00 am to the find the car had been broken into wasn't a good start to the day. But that's life. The M8, M77, Prestwick, Ryanair and here we are; in the 37 degree heat of Bologna, heading south to Faenza and our credentials.

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 6: Stage 19, Avellino – Vesuvio

It's 12.25 and we're headed for a road that the men's lifestyle and driving mags rave about; The Amalfi Coast. Amalfi, Porto Fino, Sorrento - playgrounds of the rich and famous.

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 1: Herning (ITT) 8.7km. The Head Says Phinney

'My heart says Alex, but my head says Phinney,' my statement as I walked out the door of our rented cottage in search of a stable wi-fi connection. I would have loved Alex Rasmussen to win, but something told me that he wasn't 'sparkling' for the Giro d'Italia 2012 - Stage 1.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 7; Frosinone – Foligno, 214 km. Desperate Nacer Bouhanni

'Desperate' is defined as; ‘having a great need or desire for something.’ It was Vik who used the word when describing Bouhanni’s win in Bari in that ‘semi-neutralised’ slippery Stage Four. Bouhanni had to change a wheel with 13 K to go and rain slick roads or not, the Frenchman and his domestiques rode like madmen to get him where he had to be. The man was desperate to win. He was the same today; F des J put the most savagery into the chasing down of the five escapees – for a long time I thought they’d stay clear. But F des J more than any other team wanted them back – and Bouhanni didn’t disappoint.

New to VV: Toby Watson presents Tobe’s Blog

We're very pleased to announce that Garmin Transitions physiotherapist Toby Watson will be contributing articles to his new VeloVeritas blog.

At Random

Peter Doyle – 1974 Rás Tailteann Winner

We spoke to Peter Doyle recently, the man from Wicklow who won just about everything there was to win at home, the Shay Elliott Memorial, the National Championship, the Tour of Ireland, the Rás and a raft of other single day and stage races.

Copenhagen Six Day 2012 – Day Six

The camper, 10:23 Wednesday morning, and the Copenhagen Six Day 2012 is all over. The cabins are bare; Dirk is in his camper headed for Drongen; Jackie and his dad have been safely deposited at the airport and we're heading into Copenhagen for a little bit of R & R before we get the plane home.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 3: Strasbourg Prologue

Another good sleep, alarm at 06:00 and straight into the shower, shave, jump into shorts and a T-shirt then down to the car and haul the bike out, stick the wheels in, blow the tyres up, run over it with a baby wipe [they work great] and we’re off to the Strasbourg Prologue.

Dan Craven – Part One; Team Europcar’s New Recruit

It’s been a while since last VeloVeritas spoke to former ‘Man in Black’ and African Road Race Champion, Dan Craven – 2009 to be exact, just after the Drummond Trophy which Dan rode for his Rapha Condor team. With his recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling. This season has seen a win on GC in the Tour du Cameroon in the colours of German team, Bike Aid-Ride For Help. We caught up with Dan at his new home in the Vendee to talk African Cycling, Europcar – and big hair.

World Championship 2010 Training Camp

It’s been a cool experience jumping off of the Garmin-Transitions train and into the Australian team for the past week, for the World Championship 2010 Training Camp.

Helen Wyman’s Cyclocross World Cup 2010, Rounds 1 and 2

It seems like a lifetime ago that we (that's the 'royal we' i.e me, Helen Wyman and hubby Stef) were packing the car and heading off for the first world cup of the season in Aigle, Switzerland.