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Cycling | 19 maart 2018

First stage Tour of Catalonia without surprises

The first stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya wasn’t an exceptional one for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The riders had to race 150 kilometres before sprinting for the stage win in Calella. As the team didn’t bring a sprinter to Spain, the objective was to cross the finish line unharmed, in which the riders succeeded without too much effort.

Sports director Grischa Niermann didn’t want to call today’s stage just a bridging stage, but it resembled one very closely in the run-up to the tough stage of the day after tomorrow. “We don’t have any sprinters here, so we kept our distance in the violence of the last kilometres. Only in the ascent at twenty kilometers from the finish line we wanted to be in front, because in previous years the peloton in the descent sometimes broke apart. That didn’t happen, so there were no surprises for us.”

The sports director didn’t expect any crazy things to happen tomorrow either. “It is a similar stage as today, although the climb at the end might be more difficult. The wind can also play a role, but we’ll find out tomorrow. It’s important that the boys also get through tomorrow safely. After that, Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett have to focus on their classification.”