Saturday's Vuelta a Espana stage was a hard one for Rabobank, with both Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema losing major time. Gesink fell from fifth to sixth and Mollema dropped out of the top ten, but Laurens ten Dam was the bright spot for the team, finishing eighth on the stage and holding on to his ninth place overall.
In the first of the high mountains stage at this year's Vuelta, Gesink lost over two minutes and Mollema over three minutes, to drop to fifteenth place.
On the penultimate climb, Gesink told his teams he didn't have good legs. That news so late in a stage “does not bode well,” directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen said on the Rabobank website. Mollema and ten Dam were still with him, but Gesink sent ten Dam forward to see what he could accomplish.
Mollema stayed with Gesink, along with Juan Manuel Garate, but also “had to take care that the damage still remained within bounds. In the last three kilometers, he was empty,” van Houwelingen said.
“This does not mean that we've suddenly had a bad Vuelta. It is a blow, but I don't rule out that we will come back.”
ten Dam saved the day for the Dutch team. "As for me, it was a good day ,as far as Robert is concerned, less so,” he said. “I had good legs throughout the day, but the disappointment prevails though. I stayed with Robert until Garate came along. Then Robert said: 'Lau, do your thing.'"
Gesink hasn't given up hope entirely. "It was a very difficult day,” he said. “For me, it sucks. Hopefully it's better tomorrow.”