Maarten Tjallingii of Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM defended his climber’s jersey in Sunday’s 187km third stage from Armagh to Dublin, but GC captain Wilco Kelderman crashed twice. Kelderman was involved in two pileups on narrow Irish roads, including a spill with about 30km to go that left the 23-year-old suffered cuts and scrapes to his hip and knee. Kelderman did not appear seriously injured, and finished with the main GC group at 11 seconds behind winner Marcel Kittel.
„He crashed twice, so that’s not good, but we think he’s OK. At least he didn’t lose time to the other favorites,“ said Belkin Sport Director Frans Maassen. „The rest day is Monday, and the next day is easy, so that will help everyone recover.“
Just as he promised, Tjallingii rode into the day’s main breakaway to defend his climber’s jersey he won in Saturday’s stage. The group was eventually reeled in, but Tjallingii will carry the prestigious climber’s jersey back to Italy.
„We didn’t want to spend too much energy defending the jersey, but Maarten was feeling good to get into the breakaway,“ Maassen said. „He will be able to keep the jersey for another day or two in Italy.“
With no rated climbs in Tuesday’s fourth stage, Tjallingii will race with the King of the Mountains jersey uncontested until Wednesday’s hillier fifth stage, featuring three climbs that will be prove more challenging to defend.
Back to Italy
Belkin’s riders and staff will fly Monday morning to southern Italy during the first of three rest days. The 97th Giro clicks back into gear Tuesday with the shortest stage in this year’s Giro, 112km from Giovinazzo to Bari. Another bunch sprint will be in the cards.