Wilco Kelderman and Robert lost time in the second stage of the Tour de France. Crashes and echelons told the story of the ride through the rain in Zeeland. Kelderman fell and lost more than five minutes. Gesink was held up by another crash and crossed the line 1-27 minutes later. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) won the stage in a group with Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.
“It was a bad day,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven said. “We were proud on top of the classification yesterday, but we took a dive. We had nobody in the first group and that’s bad, especially when you’re having some ambitions in the general classification.
“It starts with Wilco’s crash. Laurens and Tom Leezer were involved in that crash too. Three men stopped to wait for them afterwards, but they left our other front man, Robert, only with Sep. That’s where it went wrong. Four men waited there with good intentions because Wilco is a front man too. We didn’t lose our ambitions in the general classification with Robert, but we did with Wilco, unfortunately.”
Robert became the highlight of the day for a while, when he was part of the first echelon together with Sep Vanmarcke. “I was going quite well, actually,” he explained. “We already saw that the weather was turning and we prepared for that. I was well placed together with Sep, but when Nibali crashed, we ended up at the wrong side of the road. We had to ride there for four kilometres even before they started riding half-road. It was unlucky.”
The general classification isn’t lost for Gesink, who is out to prove that in Monday’s stage. “That’s going to be one for the overall riders,” Verhoeven said. “I think that the stage suits Robert. He was good today and fell out of the leading group because a little bit of bad luck. I expect him to finish with the best tomorrow.”
Source: Team LottoNL-Jumbo