"He's finished sixth three times now, so the next step is top five" - INEOS Grenadiers keen to see progression from Thymen Arensman

Although his opening week was a little dodgy, Thymen Arensman bounced back well in the second half of the 2024 Giro d'Italia to secure 6th in the general classification, matching his finish at the Giro in 2023 and the Vuelta a Espana in 2022.

"With him, we have to keep building. He's finished sixth three times now, so the next step is top five and the podium," INEOS Grenadiers sports director Zak Dempster says in conversation with IDLProCycling.com following the conclusion of the opening Grand Tour of the year in Rome on Sunday afternoon. "That's what we're focused on, the process of achieving that."

As mentioned, Arensman was again the victim of a slow start to his Grand Tour, something that is becoming a regular occurrence for the 24-year-old Dutchman. So how do Arensman, Dempster and the INEOS Grenadiers go about fixing this issue? "That's complicated; there's no single solution," he answers when posed this question. "We'll need to have a conversation about it and see how we can improve. His starts are holding him back from better performances, so we need to focus on what we can do better with all the guys. With Thymen, that's clear."

"There are likely several factors contributing to it. We're going to delve into that further," Arensman himself says about the issue to In de Leiderstrui. "Additionally, there are lessons learned from this Giro that I can use to improve. At 24, I have plenty of time ahead of me. If you consider Geraint Thomas, who is 14 years older, I still have many years ahead to aim for that podium, haha! I feel I've grown stronger, and that's what matters most."

"Finishing sixth three times... You always hope for a bit better, but it certainly fuels my motivation for the next Grand Tour where I'll aim for a classification," he continues. "The memory of that opening weekend still lingers, as does the fact that I was dropped on the twentieth stage. The reason was quite simple: I gained four or five kilos during the Giro..."

Gaining such weight during a Grand Tour is a curious thing as Arensman admits himself. "Yeah, well, my skinfold measurements indicated low heart rate for me, so that accounts for about four or five litres of fluid. It's something useful to figure out for next time, exactly what's causing that," he says. "This is exactly what I meant earlier: valuable lessons for the future. If I can manage those initial days better and control my weight, considering how close I am now to the podium, then I'm absolutely confident about securing a podium finish."

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