Kooij wins stage 3, De Bondt finally accomplishes mission in Tour of Guangxi
date:2023-10-15 source: hits:

With a strong sprint in a reduced peloton, Olav Kooij claimed victory in stage 3 of the Tour of Guangxi. Dries de Bondt's efforts finally paid off: he once again set up the breakaway of the day, took the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints, and ultimately became the overall race leader.


“It is great to add another WorldTour victory to my palmares. My teammates brought me back after I dropped on the final climb. It was a team effort today,” Kooij said after the finish. 

He continued: “It is an interesting experience both in and outside of the race. It is slightly different from racing in Europe, but team Jumbo-Visma is enjoying its time here in China.” 

Wearing red is the first time for Belgian rider De Bondt in a WorldTour race. “It is an amazing feeling. I worked hard for this the last few days, and today the plan finally worked out, after it failed yesterday. I believe my legs could be good enough to defend it tomorrow.”

The Belgian rider from Alpecin Deceuninck had been in the breakaway in stage 1, stage 2, and broke away in stage 3 as well, with similar ambitions as yesterday. 

Just like the stage before, De Bondt had to win the two intermediate sprints with associated time bonuses, as well as hope that the top 3 of the previous stage wouldn’t make it in the top 3 today. Yesterday his mission failed, with Jonathan Milan (who remained the leader in the youth classification) winning. Today, he succeeded.

“The goal was to stick with the peloton on the climb and drop Milan. As I could start with a small advantage on the final climb, I managed to stay with the bunch. I was happy to see that our plan worked, and that my efforts paid off today.” 

On a short but challenging local circuit in the beautiful and vibrant city of Nanning, a breakaway of six riders went up the road. Frederik Wandahl from Bora-Hansgrohe claimed the points on the KOMs of the day, extending his lead in the mountains classification before the six got reeled in before the final ascent. 

On that climb (1.4km at 12%), many riders got dropped. Kooij as well, however, he managed to return to the reduced peloton as one of the only sprinters.

The Dutchman of Team Jumbo-Visma made it look easy on the final stretch alongside the river in Nanning. “There are two more chances after a mountainous stage tomorrow. It’s too early to call it the season just yet.”

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