While his fellow countryman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) smashed the 39.8-kilometer stage 10 time trial, taking the win and a firm hold on pink, Bauke Mollema's time was enough to move him one spot forward in the overall classification into 3rd place.
The length of the time trial at nearly 40 kilometers could have inflicted significant damage to the GC and it had the contenders focused, some hoping to gain valuable time, others on limiting losses.
In the end, there was only some minor reshuffling in the top of the leaderboard, except for Dumoulin of course, and it will be the mountains in the final week that remain the determining factor for most.
"I'm tired, my glutes are very sore," answered Mollema when asked how he feels. "You not often have a TT of 40kms full gas because it was more or less always in the aero position; there was not much time to recover.
"I think 10th place was good for me. Okay, the difference to Dumoulin is pretty big, even bigger than I expected, but compared to the other GC riders I gained time on most of them, except Nibali who was a few seconds in front. I think it was a pretty good day."
The course began with a tailwind on a flat road and progressively got more difficult: the climbing starting at kilometer 13 and the riders had to face a stiff headwind for the final 10 kilometers. It was a power course, and despite the significant uphill, the specialists had the edge over the pure climbers.
"The last part was really hard for me, I think at the start I was okay, but in the last 10kms I lost maybe 10-20 seconds too much," explained Mollema. "It was headwind, and I couldn't really keep the rhythm, so there I was really suffering. But in general, the start was good, and technically it was a good TT."
Technically it was a straightforward course, some twisty but relatively safe downhills and the only tricky corners in the last kilometer, right at the point of full fatigue and, with riders trying to shave as much time as possible, caused a few to hit the deck with numerous others enduring close calls.
"I almost missed one corner in the end; that moment the heart rate is 180 and your positioning is not so good anymore, so I made one small mistake, but luckily I didn't crash," said Mollema, one of many who had close encounters in the final turns.
He then added: "That's how it is: the time trial never lies."