Team LottoNL-Jumbo does what’s possible in Basque Country

The Team LottoNL-Jumbo-riders began the first stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco without too many scratches. Brian Bulgac was in the early breakaway and George Bennett didn’t have any pain in his knee anymore. Michael Matthews (OricaGreenEDGE) won the stage.

“We didn’t expect much more than how we performed today,” sports director, Erik Dekker said after the race. 

Dekker is realistic about the chances of his team in this stage race. 

“We have an extraordinary selection of riders here. That’s why this race serves riders working to improve. When you look at it that way, it’s fine to see that George Bennett didn’t have any trouble with his knee.”

Mountain jersey
The stage around Bilbao had an early breakaway with Brian Bulgac. He wanted to grab the mountain jersey along the way.

“I thought that I took the first points, but the line was moved 1.5 kilometres further," he explained. 

“I didn’t get anything from that. After that, I got a puncture on the second climb. I had to give everything I had to return with the others. When I closed the gap, they started to sprint for the points immediately. That burned me.” 

“Brian has given us visibility in the race, anyway," Dekker added. “But Mike Teunissen didn’t make it in time, on the other hand. He wasn’t in top form and this profile isn't his specialty. That made it hard for him.”

On Tuesday, the riders from Team LottoNL-Jumbo are facing the easiest stage of the week. “That will probably end up in an bunch sprint with a bigger group than it was today,” Dekker expected. “I hope that Nick van der Lijke feels better than he did today. He may be able to squeeze in there.”

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