Gesink, Menchov uncertain for Vuelta
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gesink, Menchov uncertain for Vuelta

by Conal Andrews at 6:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España

The Dutch Rabobank team has often performed well in the Vuelta a España, but it is as yet uncertain as to who will represent the team in next year’s race.

Following yesterday’s route launch, team manager Adri van Houweling has said that Denis Menchov and Robert Gesink will not yet commit to riding the event. Their chances of doing so will depend on how the earlier part of the season goes.

“If the Tour [de France] bring success to Robert, he will not appear at the start [of the Vuelta],” he said, revealing that the race would only act as a plan B for the 23 year old Dutchman.

As for Denis Menchov, the overall winner in 2005 and 2007, his plans are also uncertain. The Russian often rides two Grand Tours in a season, and choose the Giro-Tour double this year. The first part of that worked out extremely well, with Menchov winning the race, but he flopped badly in July.

He may decide to make his first big effort in the Tour, then later riding the Spanish event and seeing what he has left, but that won’t be known for some time.

“It could be that this time Denis again chooses the Tour and Vuelta,” said Van Houweling. “But it is still much too soon to make sensible sentiments about that.”

Writing about his thoughts on the team’s official website, he gave the thumbs up to the Vuelta and the parcours of the 2010 edition. “We have had great successes there in the past. This year, it is also a very nice course, with a special character. Each time the organisation is looking for particularly steep climbs, and I’ve got the impression that it has succeeded once again. The climb which comes on the day after the rest day will have a finish of 20 to 22 percent.”

One Rabobank rider who is likely to take part is the Spaniard Oscar Freire. He is keen to chase what would be a record fourth world championship victory and knows that the Vuelta is the best preparation for him.


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