Martijn Keizer pushed himself to 10th overall, at seven seconds, in the Tirreno-Adriatico after the second stage in Cascina, Italy. The strong Dutchman delivered a good prologue yesterday and earned a time bonus during his breakaway today, which ended with a sprint win by Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal).
"To have Martijn in the breakaway was our plan,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven explained. “We have no guns for the general classification without Robert Gesink, and we don’t have a sprinter because of Tom Van Asbroeck’s crash in West-Vlaanderen. That’s why we decided that Martijn had to be in the early breakaway, first to take points in the mountain classification and a time bonus for the general classification. The mountain jersey wasn’t a feasible, unfortunately, because there were some very strong riders in the leading group, who gave everything in that sprints, but Martijn did reach the top ten, and that’s great.”
Keizer was moderately satisfied with the result of his breakaway. “I wanted to be part of the breakaway,” he said. “But I really wanted to become the leader in the mountain classification, too. It’s a pity that I couldn’t reach that goal. I’m in the top-10 of the general classification now, but to wear a leader’s jersey is much more special.
“I had a nice day, anyway. It’s hard to explain how nice it is to be in the leading group with the TV camera’s around you all the time. That feels great. And of course, the fact that you’re in the lead is wonderful.”
The second stage in the stage race will give Team LottoNL-Jumbo another challenge. “Tomorrow, we finish on a small climb,” Verhoeven added. “The strong finishers can show themselves in that final. With Paul Martens, we have someone who is able to show off. Paul did a good job in the prologue, so he is in shape. Of course, he has to be a little fortunate, but a good result surely is possible for him.”