Gesink mulls over Grand Tour options for 2016

"Ventoux: it's a hill and you need to ride up it as fast as you can"

Like the majority of Grand Tour riders Robert Gesink (LottoNL Jumbo) has a few difficult choices to make over the coming weeks when it comes to deciding on race plans for 2016.

With the Olympics and the fact that the Giro d'Italia passes through a region of the Netherlands where Gesink grew up, a simply snapshot decision to return to the Tour de France – where he finished sixth this year – is far from cut and dry. At least Gesink now has the knowledge of the full routes for next year's Giro and Tour to help make his informed decision, having been present at Tuesday's presentation for the 2016 Grand Boucle in Paris.

"It's pretty hard [the route] but you expect that. It's the Tour de France. There's one day less of climbing and a bit more time trialing compared to this year," he told Cyclingnews.

The Olympic road race, which follows the Tour later in August of next year, is one that suits climbers and Gesink is one of a hat-full of riders who will need to plan their seasons carefully in order to maintain form should he ride the Tour de France.

"I need to look more at the profiles for the Tour and then see what the plans will be. It's also an Olympic year so there's been some talk about not doing GC and maybe going for stages. It's a bit early and I don't know what my plans are yet."

Gesink will need to add his thoughts on the Giro d'Italia into the mix when it comes to formulating his programme. The route for the Italian Grand Tour is also relatively balanced, although it contains one additional time trial when compared to the Tour.

"For a Dutch rider, having a Grand Tour in your country, and with it going through the area where I grew up, that's interesting as well. It's a difficult choice but as I noticed last year the only race it's all about is the Tour. You can be perfect in the Giro but of course the Tour is the biggest race. Of course I want to be there in France next year as well."

Gesink also added that he would look at riding reconnaissance for some of the Tour de France stages, regardless if he targets the overall or stage wins.

"Maybe it's a good idea to look at the climbs you've not done before. That's what most of the favourites do. This year there wasn't much time to do any recon but in the end I don't think it cost me anything. It's something we'll look at in the next few weeks.

"I've been asked if the Ventoux is my kind of climb but in the end it's a hill and you need to ride up it as fast as you can. There's also going to be a lot of finishes after descents next year and that's where you can make differences. They're important to see as well."
 

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