LottoNL-Jumbo’s Floris De Tier showed well today in the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol stage race in Spain. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the stage from Rincón de la Victoria to Granada and De Tier placed 20th in the lead group.
"At the moment I still upset, but I should be happy with my first race day of the year,” De Tier said. “A few kilometres before the summit of the Puerto de Monachil climb, I fell behind the group of favourites. I was the last one who was dropped. I could see the riders in front of me for a long time, but I remained alone. They stayed there for a little, but not long enough for me to come back."
The 155-kilometre stage started quietly. The peloton allowed a breakaway free for the mountain points, but kept close watch on the group. The favourites group pulled back the escape just before the Puerto de Monachil. With just 30 kilometres to go, the Team LottoNL-Jumbo riders did everything to place De Tier in the front at the foot of the climb.
"It's nice to see them take me to the front. That gives me a lot of confidence,” De Tier added. “Martijn Keizer put me in a good position and I was able to start the climb in the top ten. That saves much energy because the pack already starts to accelerate at the base of the climb."
De Tier rode with the best riders. However, a few kilometres before the summit, he had to let go.
"I finally drifted into the first group behind the leaders and crossed the line in it, a group with Stef Clement too. He came to me on the top of the climb and a few kilometres before the line, a big group closed on us.
"I just lack that small something that allows me to go in the first group over the top of the mountain. My condition is good, but my legs need to be a little bit better. That extra edge I can gain only in races, so we will see what happens in the coming days.
“I'm looking forward to tomorrow, an uphill finish without a descent where the rest can come back. I wonder how long I can go with the first riders.”