"That's a mistake you might make in your first race of the year" - Olav Kooij almost sees victory snatched away by premature celebration in Almeria

Olav Kooij has made the perfect start to his 2024 season, taking the win on Sunday afternoon at the Clasica de Almeria, following a brilliant leadout by his superstar teammate, Wout van Aert.

Very nearly however, Kooij's victory was almost snatched away from him after the Dutchman celebrated somewhat prematurely as rival, Matteo Moschetti continued to put the power down. "That's a mistake you might make in your first race of the year," laughed a relieved Kooij in his post-race interview. "Things like that happen. I now know immediately for the next races that you just have to sprint to the end. With the headwind you also lose some speed."

Despite the rookie error, Kooij managed to hold on, taking the win in his first outing of 2024. "The team was very strong today, but with all the roundabouts you sometimes lose each other," the Team Visma | Lease a Bike sprinter assesses. "We had some problems getting out in the last kilometre."

"I decided before the last corner to make my move on the left side of the road. This put me in a good position, but it did cost me quite a lot of strength. Fortunately, Wout still got past me. I rode my sprint after his lead-out, but already felt my earlier effort. Luckily it was just enough for the win," concludes Kooij.

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