Kevin De Weert showed Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s black and yellow colours today in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The Belgian was part of a five-men breakaway in stage two.
De Weert’s adventure ended about 35 kilometres from the line. Together with Thierry Hupond (Allegiant Alpecin) he was dropped on a third category climb. Not much later Sebastian Reichenbach (IAM Cycling), Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal) and Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) were reeled in by the peloton, as well.
Fabio Felline of Trek Factory Racing sprinted to victory in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEDGE finished second and retained the race lead.
Kevin De Weert
The riders faced six categorised climbs on Tuesday. De Weert, who was sick in March, was suffering along the way.
“Normally, I can be a driving force in a breakaway during a day like this, but all I could do today was follow. I had to work hard as it was up and down all day long. In the Basque Country there’s not one flat kilometre.”
However, De Weert is satisfied with the acquired hardness. “I’m here to improve ahead of the Ardennes Classics, where I’ll need to assist the team’s leaders. There is still a lot of work to do, but I hope to get through the next few days properly and to end the week feeling good.”
Sports Director Frans Maassen lost Brian Bulgac, who was in yesterday’s escape, after he crashed and abandoned. “Some riders in front of him went down,” Maassen said. “He tried to continue but was in too much pain. It’s another setback for our team.”
Wednesday's stage will take the peloton over 171 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Zumarraga. During the last ten kilometres, the riders have to go up and over a second category-climb, which should see the overall riders at the front.