Robert Gesink’s Tour challenge falters on Tourmalet
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Robert Gesink’s Tour challenge falters on Tourmalet

by Shane Stokes at 10:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Klöden crashes again, RadioShack leader under pressure

Robert GesinkHe came into the race with high hopes of a podium place, but Robert Gesink’s battered body saw him lose pace with the Tour de France favourites on the slopes of the Tourmalet.

The Dutchman cracked on the ascent of the Tourmalet, slipping out of the back of the peloton approximately nine kilometres from the summit. Team-mate Carlos Barredo dropped back to wait for him but Gesink beckoned him forward, clearly realising it was futile.

The Rabobank leader was 15th overall starting the stage, four minutes and one second behind Thomas Voeckler in the general classification. He was also leading the best young rider competition, 51 seconds clear of Rein Taaramae (Cofidis).

Gesink has been in fine form this season, winning the Tour of Oman, netting second in Tirreno Adriatico and placing third in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

However he crashed heavily on stage five of the Tour and incurred bad bruising, with the fall affecting his back. He lost time on the stage to Super Besse was rumoured to be on the verge of pulling out, but had said more recently that he felt he was coming around.

RadioShack leader Andreas Klöden has also been in trouble today. He has been suffering in recent days with the effects of his crash on Sunday, coming down in the same crash as Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma Lotto).

His back was badly bruised and he fell again today, hitting the deck on the descent of the Hourquette d’Ancizan. He has been under pressure and, like Gesink, looks set to lose time to the other team leaders.

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