"We had already done a number of climbs at the beginning of the day,” De Tier said. “My legs didn’t feel much better than yesterday. On the last climb, I rode higher watts and when I was dropped, I was able to hold onto my watts.”
The stage climbed 3400 metres, including the closing 10-kilometre climb on the Alto Peña del Águila. The classification teams controlled the peloton at the start of the climb with a high pace that eventually led to cracks.
"Stef Clement helped me to get up in the front. I was fine in the first part of the climb,” De Tier added. “When Mikel Landa attacked, the small group pulled further apart. I held my pace and came in just behind the GC riders.
“Now, I almost can ride 500 watts for al long time. But I feel I'm getting better. I am very pleased with that.
“We race the time trial tomorrow and I'm wondering how that will go for me. I’ve not trained much on my time trial bike, but I'm looking forward to find out what I can do."
The time trial covers 12 kilometres. With Stef Clement, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Victor Campenaerts, Team LottoNL-Jumbo has a number of specialists in the race against the clock.