Martijn Keizer led team LottoNL-Jumbo in the opening day of the Tirreno-Adriatico, a 5.4-kilometre prologue in Lido di Camaiore. The Dutchman clocked the 28th fastest time, 6-15 minutes, along the Italian coast.
Keizer finished eleven seconds slower than Adriano Malori. Movistar’s time trial specialist is the first leader of the Race of the Two Seas thanks to a time of 6-04 minutes.
“I gave my all, but unfortunately, I lost some time at the end of the time trial,” Keizer said. “In the first few kilometres, I was able to burst from corner to corner, but the final two kilometres were straight and I missed a moment to recover, which cost me some time on today’s best riders.”
However, Keizer was quite satisfied. “Me and Jesse Sergent finish on the same time today. In last Friday’s Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen prologue, he was faster than me. That shows that I’m on the right path. In addition, I wasn’t even scheduled to ride here. I was preparing for two races in The Netherlands. I only arrived here yesterday.”
Sports Director Nico Verhoeven’s team in Italy isn’t completely fit. “Martijn did well today, but it was difficult for some of our guys because they had colds earlier on and are not yet one-hundred per cent. I’m referring to Laurens ten Dam, Tom Leezer, Robert Wagner and Kevin de Weert. For them, it’s important to improve over the week.”
Team LottoNL-Jumbo had to adjust its aims due to absence of Tom Asbroeck and Robert Gesink. “But we still want to make something of this week. There will be opportunities for us and we want to seize them. It’s going to be a challenging week, in which we want to show our adventurous side.”
It will be difficult to bag a result on Thursday’s stage 1. “Normally, we’ll see a bunch sprint tomorrow. Sep Vanmarcke can make it into the top ten, but we don’t want him to take too many unnecessary risks with the classics coming up. Certainly not in an Italian bunch sprint. The arrival is too flat for Paul Martens, he will get his chances later this week.”