Giro d'Italia: Steven Kruijswijk thanks Esteban Chaves

A mutually beneficial partnership with Esteban Chaves pleased Steven Kruijswijk as he subsequently went top of the general classification.

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Steven Kruijswijk acknowledged the role of stage 14 winner Esteban Chaves in helping him claim the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia.

The duo, along with Georg Preidler (Giant - Alpecin), caught race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing) with 1.8 kilometres remaining of Saturday's stage that lasted over six hours.

Chaves sprinted across the line first to claim the win, with a second-placed finish enough for Kruijswijk to move to the top of the general classification.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider thanked his Orica-GreenEDGE counterpart for working with him as they moved towards the front.

"I knew I was with Esteban and for the sprint, I knew that he was very fast. I think I had in my mind to gain more time on my competitors for the GC and it worked out pretty good," said Kruijswijk.

"I felt really good all day. I knew that this kind of stage would suit me pretty good, after the first mountain stage we had [on Friday]. 

"I was lucky that I had Esteban with me and we could work together. I'm happy to get the pink jersey. Esteban was really strong. I think he showed, together with me, that he was one of the strongest in the race."

Chaves was delighted to have won the 210km 'Queen Stage' that included six ascents, adding that passing Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali galvanised his partnership with Kruijswijk.

"I'm really happy. Winning the 'Queen Stage' in the Giro is really special. This is not only for me, but for the team, who worked really well," he said.

"Everyone was riding at their limits. Kruijswijk started his attack, then I tried to follow. It was a steep climb, and then when we saw Nibali was dropped we started to work together."

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