Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Volta A Catalunya began well with stage one. Its three classification riders spent the day in the front of the peloton and finished in the same time as winner Davide Cimolai.
"One goal was to be in the breakaway and another was to keep our GC-men in the front," Sports Director Sierk-Jan de Haan said.
“We succeeded looking after our GC men: Robert Gesink, George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk. They were well surrounded and at the points we discussed, they were at the front: after 108 kilometres, before the two big climbs and in the last 20 kilometres.
“It's good to see that our riders were in the right place at that time.”
Bert-Jan Lindeman tried for the team’s first goal, to make an escape. He was one of the first riders to attack. Shortly after, the group caught him. After several attacks, a breakaway moved free. It too, however, dissolved into the chase group just for the final climb.
"The pace was high today. It was clear that this was one of the few, or only, opportunities for the sprinters. Cofidis and Lotto Soudal controlled the race for their men to sprint."
Behind the bunch sprint, Gesink placed 30th. He was the first rider over the line for Team LottoNL-Jumbo.
Tomorrow the team time trial
Tomorrow, the cyclists race a team time trial of 41 kilometres around Lake Banyoles. De Haan said that it is a unique course.
"It is not often that the riders have to climb so much during a team time trial. It requires we race in a special way,” he added.
“Riders must have great confidence in each other and know exactly when they can and cannot accelerate. The climbers must be careful that they are not going too fast uphill. The first part is going to be important.
“It may not be a day of gains, but it can certainly be one of loses. This is one reason why we previewed the team time trial yesterday. Tomorrow morning, we will ride it again. After that, we must be at our best for the start."