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"The team worked hard in the first few days, but we had too many guys getting sick. Tomorrow we’ll start with four riders. Enough said," sport director Jan Boven says

MARK RENSHAW

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PARIS - NICE

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ROBERT GESINK

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TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO

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WILCO KELDERMAN

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10.03.2013 @ 11:50 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Team Blanco has had a nightmare Paris-Nice. After losing its GC ambitions on the third stage three of the team's seven remaining riders abandoned during yesterday's stage.

 

Team Blanco had high ambitions for this year's Paris-Nice. With Robert Gesink showing strong condition in Ruta del Sol and Vuelta a Murcia the team thought that an overall victory for the lanky Dutchman was a real possibility.

 

Gesink started off on a high by beating most of his competitors in the prologue, and young Wilco Kelderman proved with a 4th place that the team's attack might be two-pronged. Both safely negotiated the first two windy stages, but bad luck struck on the third when both were caught behind on the final treacherous descent.

 

With all GC hopes lost the team hoped to bounce back in yesterday's stage to Montagne de Lure. Gesink put in an attack on the final climb towards the finish, but was quickly reeled in, and he finished with Kelderman more than 3 minutes behind the winner.

 

The team cited respiratory problems as the reason for Gesink's poor showing, and in yesterday's final road stage of the race it all became too much. Gesink abandoned the race. To add to the team's woes sprinter Mark Renshaw was ill and also had to give up while Kelderman crashed. As a consequence the young Dutchman was the third team rider to leave the race on a very bad day for the Dutch outfit.

 

“We started the week with realistically high ambitions," sport director Jan Boven explained of the pre-race expectations. "The team worked hard in the first few days, but we had too many guys getting sick. Tomorrow we’ll start with four riders. Enough said.”

 

Gesink will now try to recover in time for the Volta a Catalunya which will be his next season target.

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