The Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol started disastrous for Team LottoNL-Jumbo on Wednesday. Five riders of the team hit the tarmac in the final of the 118-kilometre morning stage, which ran from La Rabida to Hinojoshard.
Wilco Kelderman, Laurens ten Dam and Steven Kruijswijk all lost time on stage winner Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal), which ruined their overall ambitions. Moreno Hofland hoped to get in the mix for the stage victory, but was involved in the pile-up like birthday boy Jos van Emden.
“It happened seven kilometres before the finish line,” said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman immediately after the morning stage.
“The boys were preparing for a bunch sprint, when a rider from another team lost balance and crashed. It happened around ten places back. A big part of the peloton went down.
”Laurens ten Dam was in bad shape after the crash with bruises all over his body. Hofland needed stitches on his knee. All the riders started the time trial despite the pile-up.
“This is obviously a tragedy, but we have to get up again and move on,” Zeeman said referring to the afternoon stage in Coria del Río.
Individual time trial
Kelderman immediately bounced back in the race against the clock. He showed resilience by racing to a second place in the 8-km individual time trial behind Javier Moreno (Movistar). The 23-year-old came two seconds too short for the win, but managed to stay ahead of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky).
“Too bad, I just miss out on a victory, but I gave my all,” Kelderman said after his Time Trial.
“Today’s course was perfect for me, technically and difficult. This was my first race with the new Bianchi time trial bike. Bianchi worked really hard on this bike. I’ve trained a lot with it lately, so this result is a real confidence-booster.”
Still, Kelderman was a bit annoyed. “I didn’t crash too hard this morning, I fell on a pile of riders, but my overall is gone and that sucks.”