The Team LottoNL-Jumbo-riders weren’t able to fight for the stage win in today’s Paris-Nice stage from Saint-Etienne to Rasteau, but came away with some hope. Hofland explained that he did not feel up to the task of winning the 192-kilometre stage, which Italian Davide Cimolai claimed for team Lampre-Merida.
“We knew this stage was going to be tough,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “Moreno Hofland felt bad, unfortunately. He didn’t start fit in Paris-Nice because of his recent illness. In the last days, he did a good job, but he didn’t have anything left today. Wilco Kelderman, though, did much better than yesterday. His performance really told that he was good and that gives us hope for the upcoming stages. Wilco is looking for some confirmation, and I hope he will find that this weekend.”
Kruijswijk and others improving
Zeeman believes that some of his riders are improving, like Steven Kruijswijk, who rode at the front and tried to attack today. “I got sick in the Ruta del Sol,” Kruijswijk said. “I recovered slowly from that illness. It was a tough virus. The last days here in Paris-Nice, I kept feeling better. That’s why I tried to attack in the beginning of the stage. It was our plan to be part of a big breakaway group. George Bennett and I were in such a group for a while, but that didn’t make it, unfortunately.”
‘A real fight in Nice’
Kruijswijk’s improvements and Kelderman bouncing back to 15th today gives Team LottoNL-Jumbo hope for tomorrow. “It is going to be a very tough stage,” Zeeman made clear. “The weather is going to be very bad and we have to cross many climbs. I expect it’s going to be a real fight. It’s going to be cold and Nice is known for its twisting and turning roads. The whole peloton will be under stress. Are we ready? I think Wilco and Steven are going to have a beautiful day.”