Three-headed GC attack from Rabobank in Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Three-headed GC attack from Rabobank in Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 5:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Gesink, Mollema and Kruijswijk to ride for overall while Renshaw will chase sprint glory

Robert GesinkHeading towards the race with Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Steven Kruijswijk as its protected riders, Rabobank has outlined its target for what it hopes will be a very successful Tour de France.

Gesink has shown strong form this year, winning the Mount Baldy stage and the overall classification in the Amgen Tour of California, then placing fourth overall on Sunday in the Tour de Suisse. Those performances give directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven hope that a big Tour is in store.

"He's shown that he's going well,” he said. ‘His time trial was also outstanding. We hope that he'll continue along the same lines. We will just have to see how it all goes, especially given that the GC riders from the Dauphiné are going to be there too.”

“We’re aiming for solid GC standings for both Robert and Bauke Mollema.”

Now 26 years of age and developing well as both a climber and a time trialist, Gesink knows that the next three to four years should represent his physiological peak as a Grand Tour rider. He’ll be determined to get the most out of his abilities. Last year’s Tour was a disappointment due to crash injuries, but he finished fifth in 2010. If he gets the balance between time trials and mountains right, he has the potential to finish on the podium this year.

Mollema was twelfth in the 2010 Giro and then went on to finish a fine fourth overall in last year’s Vuelta. He was third in this year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco, sixth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, seventh in Flèche Wallonne and tenth in the Amstel Gold Race.

At 25, Kruijswijk is the same age as Mollema and has shown similar promise. Eighth in last year’s Giro plus winner of a stage and third overall in the Tour de Suisse marked him out as a big engine. He didn’t ride the Giro this year and so has built up differently; still, eighth overall in Switzerland shows his form is on the rise.

The team will also feature Luis Leon Sanchez, who Verhoven states will target stage victories and also work well to support the general classification leaders, plus Laurens ten Dam, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii and Maarten Wynants. The ninth man on the squad is Mark Renshaw, who could help land early success. "Even without a proper leadout, Renshaw is excellent at positioning himself and finishing top five in bunch sprints,” said Verhoven. “Furthermore, Mark has shown that he is a team player and is of enormous value to the team.”


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