‘Super-good’ Gesink aiming to seize opportunity on Old Willunga Hill
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Friday, January 24, 2014

‘Super-good’ Gesink aiming to seize opportunity on Old Willunga Hill

by VeloNation Press at 1:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Belkin team leader half a minute back in Tour Down Under but remains determined

Robert GesinkTeam Belkin’s Robert Gesink may be over half a minute adrift of the ochre leader’s jersey in the Santos Tour Down Under, but the Dutch climber is fired up to show his early season form on tomorrow’s crucial summit finish of Old Willunga Hill.

The former Tour of California winner had started stage four fifth overall, 29 seconds back, and remains in that position. He’s still in within a shout of winning the race, although it will be difficult to get enough time to challenge for the top spot.

Still, his team-mate Stef Clement is convinced that the team has much to ride for. “Tomorrow the GC can be flipped upside down. For us as a team, it’s important to ensure that Robert will start the climb fresh,” he said. “On Willunga Hill, it’s a one-on-one battle. Robert feels super good.”

Gesink had made the race a clear target prior to the start and is looking forward to the sole summit finish in the race. “It will all come down to Willunga Hill,” he said. “That's an uphill finish. It’s going to be a beautiful and fair fight. I’m fifth now, which is a good position to be in. I’m still looking to climb in the GC, however. I want to get the most out of this week.”

While the same gap remains between himself and race leader Cadel Evans, the time bonuses available on today’s stage saw second-placed Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge), Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida) and Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) all pull a little further ahead of the Belkin rider.

They did so by picking up time bonuses; according to directeur sportif Erik Dekker, there was no point in Gesink – who is less of a sprinter than those rivals – taking chances in trying to do likewise. His strength is the climbs, not in short bursts of power on the flat.

“Some rivals of Robert took some seconds, but that was unavoidable,” said Dekker. “The sprints were a matter of life or death. For Robert, there was nothing to gain. It would have been a waste of his energy.

“In the end, it was a good day for us. We are confident for tomorrow. So far it’s going well.”


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