Discovery Channel Team Report
The Max van Heeswijk of last season has finally resurfaced in 2005 as the Dutchman won his third race of the season - and third in the last few weeks - today when he sprinted to victory in stage seven of the Vuelta/Tour of
Coming off a career best 13 wins last season, van Heeswijk struggled through the spring and summer months and finally found his winning form when he took the first and fifth stages at the Benelux Tour last month prior to winning his second career Vuelta stage.
"I'm very happy now considering how this season started for me," van Heeswijk said. "The last two months have been great for me and I'm finally feeling good again."
The win gave the Discovery Channel team victories in all three Grand Tours this season. Paolo Savoldelli won a stage en route to the overall victory at the Tour of Italy in May while Savoldelli, George Hincapie and Lance Armstrong all won individual stages and the team won the team time trial at the Tour de France in July, capped off by Armstrong's seventh straight victory.
"It was a very hard stage today," said Johan Bruyneel, the team's sports manager. "There were four third category climbs in the beginning part but in the last part, it all came back together. We knew it was a good finish for Max as it was slightly uphill at the finish."
However, van Heeswijk flatted with 15 kms remaining but quickly jumped onto the back of the peloton and was brought to the front by Michael Barry and Stijn Devolder, according to Bruyneel. "It was a crazy, twisty finish and then all of a sudden, Max was in front with 600 meters to go. He seemed to have started his sprint way too early but nobody was able to pass him."
On the finish, van Heeswijk said "at 600 meters, nobody else wanted to go. Then for me, it was all or nothing and I went to see how far I could go."
Bruyneel added that, "his two wins in
On his Vuelta teammates, van Heeswijk said - "Everybody here is really good as yesterday we were in every break. These guys are incredible, much better than me. I'm happy to give them a stage win, which is what I think they deserve. Yesterday I was in the back suffering while they were on the front attacking."
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