The Luxembourger, who's preparing for the National Championships, shared his thoughts on the best stage race of his career so far.
It won't be long until I'll return to racing, but until this happens, I'd like to tell you a few things about the Giro d'Italia. Ever since the start in Apeldoorn I had the clear goal of taking the white jersey. I came at the start motivated after the hard work I did in the past months, and I was confident that I can win it, especially after my training block in Sierra Nevada and the solid ride I had in Tour de Romandie. In the end, I fulfilled my goal, but racing the Giro wasn't only about this: it was also about helping my teammates whenever I could and also about discovering myself as a GC rider.
May was a great month for Etixx – Quick-Step, as we scored four stage wins at the Corsa Rosa and held the pink jersey for a total of six days. I won't lie, leading the race for three days made me extremely proud and I rate it as one of the best experiences of my career, but on top of it all was standing with the rest of the guys on the podium in Torino and celebrating the Super Team classification. That prize underlined yet again the fantastic spirit of Etixx – Quick-Step and how everybody is willing to do an incredible amount of work for everybody so that the team shines, all these making up for an unforgettable experience.
The Giro was my third Grand Tour, and as I went also for a good result in the overall, I discovered how stressful is to be a GC rider in a three-week race. Every single day, from the Netherlands until the final stage, it was really nervous out there. To resist to that stress and finish it off by coming 6th in the standings was really great and showed me that I have another advantage, besides the fact that I'm much stronger in the final week, when things become really tough and you can't hide anymore.
Even the final day of the race was a hectic one, so hats off to the organizers for making the right call and stopping the clock when the peloton entered on the city circuit. Only once the stage was completed I was relieved and could enjoy the celebration we had afterwards. And there were plenty of things to celebrate: the stints in the maglia rosa, the stage victories of Marcel, Brambi and Matteo, as well as my white jersey. All these came as a result of our motivation and dedication, two key factors in any cycling race.
As I said, I will soon come back to training. After resting for a few days once the Giro d'Italia was over, I began to train again for my next goal, the National Championships. I loved wearing the national colors over the past 12 months, and I'd like to continue displaying them for at least one more year, so I'll give it my all to achieve that. Wish me luck and root for me!
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele