Rabobank's Gesink goes for Amstel Gold Race win
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rabobank's Gesink goes for Amstel Gold Race win

by Bjorn Haake at 8:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race
 

Robert Gesink hopes to better his third place from last year in the Amstel Gold race. The Rabobank rider faces some tough competition from within his own ranks, as Oscar Freire is a natural favorite for the hilly course with the finish atop the Cauberg.

Gesink made no secret about his ambitions. "Naturally I will go for the win," he said to Sportweek.nl. He thinks that having multiple captains is not a problem. "Cycling races are not mathematics. There are 1001 scenarios how the race can pan out."

The important part is to be ready physically and mentally. "I know that I have done everything to prepare in the best possible way and that our team is very strong in its breadth."

Gesink can count on the help of Paul Martens, who has been riding well, and Nick Nuyens, who had some bad luck this year but seems to be in good shape also. There won't be any support from Freire, who sees himself as the sole captain for tomorrow's race.

"Freire rides really well at this moment," Gesink admitted. "With Oscar in the shape that he is in, we can have two captains. He can wait for a sprint on the Cauberg - I certainly can not." Nuyens will also be someone to reckon with in a break rather than a sprint on the final hill.

Excellent support riders

Laurens Ten Dam will put his services to whoever needs them. He is a very strong domestique and for him the "home team" of Rabobank can have only one goal. "We will ride to win it." But there is no pressure, despite everyone always expecting the Dutch team to succeed in the Amstel Gold Race. "I don't know how many years we haven't won it, so if we win on Sunday it certainly will be something to celebrate," he told rabosports.nl.

Ten Dam is quite motivated for his race. "My house is something like 500m from the start. As a Dutchman you know every stone, every climb and how long they are. In the race, this is a real advantage." He will have friends watching, too. "It is the most special race of the year."

As every season, the Dutch fans are expecting a win of Rabobank. They would probably prefer Gesink over Freire, for an even "Dutchier" experience. But, as Gesink reminds everyone, "there are 200 other racers at the start line."

Although this time around it will be actually a bit less. As Velonation reported yesterday, the volcano in Iceland has caused havoc on the European flight schedule and it looks as riders like Carlos Sastre will not make it to the start line.

Bradley Wiggins announced via twitter that he won't be making it to the Netherlands. "Can't get to Amstel this weekend due to Arthur!" he wrote. Even the trains are not much of an option anymore, as they are too crowded. One of the German professional soccer teams had to spend several hours standing in the train yesterday on their way to an away game - not the best preparation for a competition!

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