• Steven Kruijswijk abandons on Stage 4 of the Vuelta a España. (Getty)Source: Getty
Steven Kruijswijk, who finished third at this year’s Tour de France, has been forced to abandon the Vuelta a España four days into the race with a knee injury.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
28 Aug 2019 - 8:17 AM 

Kruijswijk was among several Jumbo-Visma riders involved in a crash in the team time trial on the opening stage of the Vuelta which seriously harmed the team’s chances of challenging for the general classification.

The 32-year-old Dutchman was able to complete stages two and three but abandoned during Stage 4 with the pain worsening since Saturday’s crash.

“The decision to abandon is the only right one," Kruijswijk said. "There was no improvement. Because of the pain, I am not comfortable on my bike and you have to be realistic.

"If the pain persists, I am of no value to the team. Hopefully, they can live up to what we came for."

Jumbo-Visma TTT disaster.

Kruijswijk was Jumbo-Visma’s co-leader at the Vuelta alongside Primoz Roglic, and the withdrawal is a blow for his chances of an overall victory as the Dutchman is strong in mountain stages, where he would have been valuable support.

"Losing Steven is a big loss for the team," said team boss Addy Engels. "He was one of our leaders. After the crash in the team time trial his knee got worse and worse. That could not be sustained. We are losing a very important pawn.

“It is difficult to estimate what tomorrow will bring. Last Sunday things looked good on the climb. The climb in stage five is of a different order than that of last Sunday. We will see, but I am confident."

The Vuelta continues with Stage five a 170km hilly ride from L’Eliana to Alto de Javalembre containing three classified climbs and is the first of eight summit finishes at this year’s race.