Gimondi crowns Kruijswijk: “The 100th will be his Giro”
The LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dutchman in Bergamo to discover the Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi’s route and the next Giro d’Italia’s climbs: “I recommend all the fans to participate, but I will be coming back to win the Giro”
If the 100th Giro d’Italia will be decided in Bergamo’s stage, we will see in May. But maybe, in some months, Steven Kruijswijk will be looking back to this day, January 7th 2017, spent with Felice Gimondi to discover the roads of his home area and the routes of the Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi, that will celebrate its 21st edition in exactly four months, on May 7th 2017.
The LottoNL-Jumbo Dutchman, who wore the pink jersey for five days in 2016, could use a special guide in his first Italian ride of the new year, in which he hopes to get back what he had left on the Colle dell’Agnello descent. His road to the Giro starts from pink, from “Felice Gimondi in pink”. That’s the title of the 21st edition of Gimondi’s Granfondo, whose routes were ridden by Kruijswijk today along with another former pro from Bergamo, Beppe “Turbo” Guerini, with Felice Gimondi in their wake in the team car.
Colle del Gallo and Selvino were the climbs tackled by Kruijswijk with the new Oltre XR4 by Bianchi, the brand he shares with Felice Gimondi, in a cold and sunny day. In the last part of his ride, the Dutchman didn’t miss the chance to see the Boccola climb to the Bergamo’s Città Alta: the ascent that will characterize the finale of Giro d’Italia’s stage 15 on May 21st, along with Selvino.
“To see the key points of a stage it’s always important, it’s a big advantage – Kruijswijk explained – and that’s why I wanted to go to the Città Alta to see the route until the finish. But it was also a valuable opportunity to explore a beautiful area, that I got to know pretty well in the years, in every way – from its sights to a good plate of casoncelli. Here it’s amazing for every cycling lover, and now I better understand why Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi is so popular.”
“To win the Bergamo stage, close to Bianchi’s headquarter, would be really nice,” Kruijswijk continued, “but my main goal is the final maglia rosa. Last year I came close, this time I want to be better – and I will have the whole team dedicated to this.” In 1998 and 2000, Marco Pantani and Stefano Garzelli rode on the Granfondo route before winning the Giro: maybe the Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi will bring some good luck also to Kruijswijk.
Relaunching the LottoNL-Jumbo’s leader ambitions is Gimondi himself: “In the last few years, I have known Kruijswijk as a strong athlete, with a good style on the bike and competitive at the top level in cycling. Today, I have known Steven, a very likable guy, very outgoing but also extremely committed and professional: his choice to extend his ride to the Città Alta to see the Giro finish, in spite of the cold, says a lot about his mentality.”
Felice believes in the Dutchman’s credentials for the Giro title: “Last year he would have brought the Giro d’Italia back to Bianchi, if not for that ill-fated descent: I won the 50th Giro in 1976, I hope the 100th will be Steven’s one.”
How to register for the 2017 Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi
Participants can register for the 21st edition by filling out the dedicated online form on official website www.felicegimondi.it, or at the G.M. Sport Office in Via G. Da Campione, 24/c – 24124 Bergamo (tel. +39 035.211721 – fax + 39 035.4227971).