Gesink and Bennett headline Lotto NL-Jumbo's Tour Down Under squad

Dutch WorldTour team send experienced squad to Adelaide

Robert Gesink and George Bennett will lead Lotto NL-Jumbo at the Tour Down Under. The Dutch team head to the first WorldTour race of 2018 with a strong seven-man team with the race starting on January 16 and concluding on January 21.

Maarten Wynants, Robert Wagner, Daan Oliver, Enrico Battaglin and Tom Leezer make up the rest of the seven-man team.

The 2018 Tour Down Under will mark Gesink's first race since crashing out of the 2017 Tour de France with fractured vertebrae. The 31-year-old spent the second half of last season recovering from the injury and has slowly built up his form at fitness at his home in Girona, Spain.

With two top-ten performances in the Tour Down Under he has a wealth of experience in the Australian WorldTour race Prior to the crash, Gesink's season had been solid rather than outstanding, with a few strong results littered throughout the opening part of the year. His second place behind Lilian Calmejane on stage 8 of the Tour de France to Station des Rousses was by far his best result.

George Bennett is another rider to watch, having missed the last edition of the Tour Down Under due to illness.

The 27-year-old New Zealander finished 10th in the race in 2015 and has had a breakthrough couple of years with 10th in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana and overall victory at last year's Tour of California. He, like Gesink, was forced to abandon the Tour de France. The Kiwi rider was sitting 12th overall at the time.

"Gesink has had two top ten general classification results at the TDU, eighth in 2017 and sixth in 2014 so it will be interesting to see what his return to racing will deliver in terms of GC aspirations and results," said Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur.

Lotto NL-Jumbo for the 2018 Tour Down Under: Maarten Wynants, Robert Wagner, Enrico Battaglin, Daan Oliver, George Bennett, Tom Leezer, and Robert Gesink. 

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