Gesink up to third overall, pleased with Giro debut thus far
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gesink up to third overall, pleased with Giro debut thus far

by VeloNation Press at 9:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Strong ride against the clock for Dutch climber

Robert GesinkHe hasn't always had the best fortune in Grand Tours, with promising top six finishes in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España being offset by two withdrawals and a tough 33rd place in 2011. However at this point Robert Gesink appears to be on course for a strong showing in his first Giro d’Italia.

The Dutchman is best known as a climber but finished a solid eleventh in yesterday’s time trial, one minute 22 seconds behind the winner Alex Dowsett (Movistar). He had started the day seventh in the general classification and jumped to an excellent third overall, one minute 15 seconds behind the new leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). With many climbs coming up, he is in position to keep pushing for the Maglia Rosa.

“A time trial such as this is always brutal but I think I can be very pleased with the result,” said Gesink afterwards. “It felt good right from the start and I was able to maintain my cadence at a good pace.”

The Blanco Pro Cycling rider opted to compete in the race rather than defending his Tour of California title. He won that race last year but passed it over in order to ride the Giro.

Overall, he’s very content with how the race is going thus far for him. “The first week has gone well. We’ve been up front as a team at the right moments and like the rest of the guys, I am in good form. In a Grand Tour, I take it day by day. For the moment, it’s going well and I hope it stays that way.”

His team-mate Wilco Kelderman was fourteenth on the stage, moved up to thirteenth overall and – importantly – saw him take the Maglia Bianca as best young rider.

“To wear the white jersey in my first Grand Tour is super. After I took the youth classification in the Tour of Romandy, I harboured the idea that I might repeat it here, but to actually do it is very cool.”

However much as he’d like to hold on to that jersey, he said his prime goal is to ride for the team leader. “For the time being, I am focussed on helping Robert and then we will look later to see if I can keep that jersey.”

Another who will be important for Gesink in the days ahead is Stef Clement. The Dutchman showed his strength yesterday when he finished best of the team in fifth, once again underlining the his time trial abilities.

He’s performed well in the past, with four national TT titles to his credit, but even so he admitted that he didn’t expect the result. “I am pleasantly surprised. Funny how you can still surprise yourself at thirty,” he said.

“Immediately after the ride, I did not have the impression that a top five spot was in the mix. I missed a turn relatively early on when I wanted to overtake and from there on I was a bundle of nerves on the bike. That also affected my descending. On top of that, it’s not easy to stay balanced and spread your energy effectively over 55 kilometres. But I am well pleased with this fifth place result.”

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