"I had hoped to be able to sprint myself, but the team decided otherwise" - Gerben Thijssen has to take on support role for Biniam Girmay

Gerben Thijssen entered the Tour de France with the ambition to give the world's best sprinters a good run for their money. However similar was the situation for his teammate Biniam Girmay, who managed to win two stages and gain a massive lead in the points classification during the first week. Unsurprisingly, his team Intermarché - Wanty is now going to fully focus on the Eritrean, putting aside Thijssen's personal ambitions.

"It was a fantastic first week and I still love being here," Thijssen begins his story to Sporza. He acknowledges it's not always easy to 'live' with the decision. "I had hoped to be able to sprint myself today, but the team decided otherwise. That's just the way it is. Because of the green jersey for Biniam Girmay, all sorts of things are added: intermediate sprints, every final sprint. Green is now a big goal."

Something he understands, but finds hard to accept. "It's a team decision and I understand that completely. But on a personal level it's very annoying. It's not that easy. I've done my job in all the sprints so far, I've done what was expected of me. But it's going to be a different Tour for me now, that's going to be a serious experience too," the Belgian tries to show resilience.

On the rest day, it was decided to change plans for good and ride for Girmay. "Today I would have liked to sprint, but it was decided to do everything for Biniam. I understand that 100%. Green is a priority. Maybe I will get another chance when that is secured."

Thijssen will also not be the last man on the train, but will have to do his work earlier. "On the other hand, that is also logical, because I am suddenly joining them now and those guys are so used to working together. The point 900 meters from the finish will be crucial. The sprint is already being held there. I have to drop Biniam off there as best I can. I am motivated for it," he concludes.

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