Robert Gesink’s improved time trial almost snatches Tirreno-Adriatico victory
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Robert Gesink’s improved time trial almost snatches Tirreno-Adriatico victory

by Ben Atkins at 5:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
Wind tunnel work pays off for Rabobank rider

robert gesinkRobert Gesink (Rabobank) started the final time trial stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in fourth place, just 15 seconds behind race leader Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). The 24-year-old Dutchman managed to overcome both Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), who were 3 and 6 seconds ahead of him respectively; the Australian’s time proved just out of reach though, and Gesink finished the week-long race in second place.

Things could hardly be more different from last season for the 24-year-old, where poor time trialling cost him the Tour de Suisse as Fränk Schleck, hardly a specialist himself, took over a minute form Gesink in 26.9km. It also almost cost him his sixth place in the Tour de France as Canadian Ryder Hesjedal took almost 2 minutes out of him in the 52km between Bordeaux and Pauillac.

The difference this year is the work that Gesink has been doing over the winter, in the wind tunnel.

“That’s paying off now,” he said. “My aerodynamic position has improved significantly; today I could sustain it for the whole course. There’s been a lot of gain, although we still have to see how it goes in a long time trial; but the gain is there in any case and it’s also about feeling good.

“It’s not bad,” he added, “winning the time trial in Oman and now the best overall classification rider in the time trial of this race.”

Although his time trialling has improved drastically, Gesink also owes much of his overall second place to the other seven men in orange and blue. Rabobank’s victory in the opening team time trial, which put Lars Boom into the race lead, laid a good foundation for the result, but the team’s support on the race’s tough stages helped to keep him near the top of the rankings.

"I have had a lot to thank the team for in this race,” he said. “Without the good work and good riding in the team time trial was this top classification position really wouldn’t have happened. I was looked after the guys very well in the awkward stages.

“I can do nothing but pay tribute; they have laid the foundation for this great result.”

With Evans winning stage 6, and finishing third on stage 4, the Australian received 14 bonus seconds; without these Gesink would have won the race by 5 seconds. Although the race might well have played out differently under those circumstances, the fact will give the Dutchman confidence as the tougher races of the summer approach.

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