Day in the break for Kooistra who climbs to third overall
Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux is one of the most important events in the U23 calendar, and what a way to kick it off. The 136 km long parcour that opened this year’s edition presented a flat first half of the stage with a hilly finale awaiting the riders. The race was off to a fast start, with the bunch staying together until the first intermediate sprint was behind. Shortly after, the breakaway of the day was formed by two riders, including Ronde van Zuid-Holland’s winner, Marten Kooistra in it. 

The leading duo opened a big gap to the bunch, reaching the six minutes mark before the bunch picked up the pace and started to reduce the distance. Marten Kooistra was first in the following two intermediate sprints, taking a total of six bonus seconds with him as well as the leadership in the intermediate sprints classification. As the peloton was approaching the breakaway, there was some counter attacks in the bunch with Minne Verboom representing the team’s interest, but they were quickly brought back to the bunch. 

In the seventh and last categorized climb of the day, a group of 8 riders broke away of the main group with Jan Maas an Edo Affini in it, but the bunch quickly brought them back. Just three kilometers away from the finish Kooistra’s group was neutralized and the stage glory was decided in a 50-man sprint, with five of our riders rolling in the main peloton. Thanks to the bonus seconds picked up in the intermediate sprints, Kooistra wraps up the opening day in third overall in the overall classification and tomorrow will wear the red jersey as the leader of the Intermediate Sprints. 

Dries Hollanders, Performance Manager and DS for the race, looks back to the day:
“Our target was to be present in every move and try to make the race as hard as possible because we don’t have a pure sprinter in the race. After several attempts Marten managed to break clear with another rider which was a perfect scenario for us, as the rest of the team should only follow the moves. The group of Marten was brought back only in the last 3 km and Jan with Edo tried an attack in the last steep climb but that wasn’t long enough, so they were brought back from the peloton. Having five riders arriving in the front group it is a really a good sign for the next stages. Now we have Marten with the sprints jersey, which is a great reward for his effort today, moreover he took some bonus seconds which will be really valuable for the rest of the race. It was a good start and we look forward to the next ones”.