Team Jumbo-Visma ends historic season with stage and general classification win at Gree-Tour of Guangxi
Olav Kooij and Milan Vader gave Team Jumbo-Visma a great end to the road season. Kooij won the sixth stage of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi after a photo finish. Vader won the overall classification of the Chinese stage race.
Vader led the general classification after his stage win on day four. He wore the red leader’s jersey for the last two stages. The stage win and GC in China were his first professional victories. “It’s great, I couldn’t have asked for more. The way the team fought for it this week, to have it all come together like this, is unreal”, an overjoyed Vader (27) said.
“I always had this scenario in my head after the crash”, said Vader, referring to his crash during the Tour of the Basque Country in early April 2022. “The doctors said they were already happy that I could get back on the bike. My motivation was to get back to my old level. My first professional wins were a stage win and the final classification here in China: I wanted that for a long time.”
Sporting director Merijn Zeeman: “Last year, Milan was fighting for his life. A season and a half later, he wins the final classification of a WorldTour race. This is exceptional. We gave Milan a chance in our team and started to work with him intensively. His coach, Tim Heemskerk, has been working with him for years to make the transition from mountain biking to road cycling. For him to finish his second season in our team this way is exceptional and completely unexpected. A very nice surprise.”
In addition to Vader’s success, birthday boy Kooij took his thirteenth victory of the season in Guilin. It took a while before it was clear who had won the final stage in Guilin. A photo finish provided the decisive answer. “Unbelievable, this is extraordinary. The goal for the season with Olav was to get ten wins, but he has already got his thirteenth”, said Zeeman. “Olav is one of the first riders of our development team. He has developed from a young talent to an international top sprinter. We are very proud of that in the team.”
The successes of Kooij and Vader take Team Jumbo-Visma’s season tally to a historic 69 victories, making it the team with the most victories this year in cycling. “If you add Christophe Laporte’s victory at the European Championships, we have 70”, the sporting director said. “This is by far the best season this team has ever had. We have made cycling history by winning three grand tours in one year. And now, after the week in China, we have reached 70 victories.”
“There are no words to describe it”, a delighted Zeeman continued. “It is an unprecedented season, really fantastic. We are always a modest and humble team, but this is definitely something to reflect on. We are very proud of it.”