Team LottoNL-Jumbo began the Tour de Romandie on Tuesday with a 14th place in the opening team time trial. The men of Sports Director Erik Dekker completed the 19.2-kilometre course in a time of 22 minutes and 14 seconds.
Team Sky set the fastest time in 21-19. Welshman Geraint Thomas claimed the overall lead and will start Tuesday’s stage in the yellow jersey.
Dekker didn’t really know how to rate the performance of his riders afterwards.
“I’m not quite sure here. Quickly we had five guys left. Laurens ten Dam suffered a problem with his derailleur after 1.5 kilometres. Bert-Jan Lindeman experienced quite a lot of pain after his crash in Liège-Bastogne- Liège and Brian Bulgac could not fully rotate due to the knee problems he has had. The other five did fine, though.
“The gap with Sky is pretty big, but the difference with the number nine is relatively small. I think we could have been up there, when the details had been spot-on.”
Satisfied with Gesink
Dekker was satisfied with the performance of Robert Gesink, who rides his first stage race again in quite some time. “For Robert, it is important to get some racing under his belt and to go deep every day. Today went fine.”
Maarten Tjallingii returned to racing on Tuesday after several weeks of rest. The experienced time trial engine directly gained confidence by his performance in the team time trial.
"You always have to wait and see how things go after a period of rest, but I think I recovered well. The feeling was good today. I’m ready for a new streak of races. I want to further polish my shape towards the Giro d’Italia here.”
“It was also nice to test the new time trial bike in competition,” Tjallingii continued. "It’s definitely faster. Unfortunately, we were with five pretty soon after the start and that made it a lot more difficult, but we gave everything we had.”
Tomorrow’s stage leads the pack over four cols. Dekker wants his team to focus on guiding Gesink.
“Attacks are not useful for us when you at what is yet to come this week. Besides, the course of tomorrow’s stage isn’t really suitable for our riders. We have to be smart and focus on the things we do well. We shouldn’t recklessly attack. The goal is to drop off Robert in a good position for the final climb.”