It was a strange day for Team LottoNL-Jumbo in the Algarve on Friday. The team prepared for a good result with captain Robert Gesink in the 19-kilometre stage three time trial, but its leader took a plane to The Netherlands due to personal reasons before the official start.
“Our man for the overall went home, the day turned out different than expected,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven.
“We were doing well in the GC, but that’s all gone now, unfortunately. It wasn’t a nice day for us.”
Sep Vanmarcke placed 38th, team LottoNL-Jumbo’s highest placed rider behind stage winner Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep).
“None of us recorded a top time today, but we didn’t expect that. The men gave everything and showed that they are in good shape. This time trial was good training. One of our goals here is to improve with our classic riders.”
"It will be difficult to achieve a good result on Saturday after Gesink abandoning," said Verhoeven. The peloton starts the weekend with a 215-kilometre mountain stage from Tavira to Malhão.
“It’s important that our riders do what they can, and that way they can improve their fitness. They need to invest in themselves for future races.”