Hoogerland rode for VDB, Gesink reflects on Lombardy
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hoogerland rode for VDB, Gesink reflects on Lombardy

by Nick Mulder at 9:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Fall Classics, Giro di Lombardia

During yesterday’s Tour of Lombardy Johnny Hoogerland capped off a brilliant end of season with a strong fifth. The perennial attacker pushed the pace up the Ghisallo with his jersey wide open with “pers te VDB” written on his shirt, meaning “for you VDB” honoring the late Frank Vandenbroucke.

Hoogerland was hoping to surprise the peloton with his early attack, “I was hoping for a stunt,” he told ANP, “That I would get some company and stay away till the finish.” After being caught he attacked again on the final climb, the Civiglio. His attack was short-lived, “In the descent all the favorites passed me and I was on the verge of cramping. It was extremely hard and with all the turns it was really dangerous, but I had great motivation. I felt great and I had this race in my head. I didn’t know what to expect, but in the end I just barely lost the sprint for third. I am extremely satisfied.”

The Dutchman turned heads with his successful debut that begun in the GP La Marseillaise, where he, like he did throughout the year, finished with the best. He went on to finish 12th in both the Ronde van Vlanderen and his first ever Grand Tour, the Vuelta A Espana, an unlikely combination. The versatile climber will look to focus on the Ardennes classics next year and hopes Vacansoleil receives a wild card to next year’s Tour de France.

One place behind Hoogerland in yesterday’s Tour of Lombardy was Robert Gesink, finishing an impressive sixth following his recent win in the Giro del Emilia. The young Dutchman, regarded as Holland’s upcoming Grand Tour contender, had trouble following the best on the final climb where winner, Phillipe Gilbert (Silence Lotto) made his move.

“On the final climb they were just going too fast for me. At the beginning of the climb I was already at my max” he explained to Rabosport.

Gesink is realistic about his weaknesses, “The explosive, short efforts are still too hard for me. On the final climb I could ride my own tempo for a while. That went well, but when Gilbert and Samuel Sanchez accelerated I just couldn’t follow.”


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