Bram Tankink moved to 14th place in the Paris-Nice overall today, taking over for an unfit Steven Kruijswijk.
"If it had been bad weather, we would’ve taken him out of the race today,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven about Kruijswijk.
"He was not fit and last night he had a bad night. His cold has not improved in the poor weather conditions that we had in the first four days. We knew it would be difficult to keep in contention today. He had nothing left and quickly was in trouble. If you’re dropped so early then it’s a very long day.
“The weather is now better than during the first days. It’s good to get some kilometres in, but we have to look at how it goes for Steven."
Two more difficult days are left in the Paris-Nice stage race. With Kruijswijk not at his best, he should take a back seat in the peloton.
"The next days are too difficult, we must be realistic. There are a lot of GC riders who are going to fight uphill,” Verhoeven added.
“Without Stef and Steven not at his best, we don’t have the men for the fight. We're here with the sprint train, but those guys can put some good quality kilometres in their legs."
Tankink’s back pains
Tankink moved up in the overall despite trouble with his back. He said that this morning he could barely walk.
"My condition is good, only it's a pity that I have a pain in my back. I was even dropped on the first climb today," he said.
"I fortunately came through and during the stage, I felt better and better.
"During the two echelon stages, I was in the first group while 80 per cent of the peloton was in trouble. It will be difficult to maintain this spot in the top 15, but I'm going to fight for it."