LottoNL-Jumbo's Robert Gesink makes his return to racing at the at the Tour de l'Ain in his first outing since crashing out of the Tour de Suisse. The Dutchman was forced to miss the Tour de France as a result of his injuries and will use the race as an important test ahead of the Vuelta a Espana.
"Tour de l'Ain is going be an important test whether I can start in the Vuelta a España or not. If your recovery isn't good, you can't go to such a big race. I hope to find out whether it is possible to go to the Vuelta. In the best case, I can go as a support rider for Steven Kruijswijk's classification chances," Gesink said.
The 30-year-old has had a mixed season in 2016 with his Suisse crash limiting his race days to just 24 and he now hasn't finished a stage race since April's Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. Having skipped the Giro d'Italia to focus on the Tour to then miss the race, Gesink is hoping for a good return to racing in France but is pessimistic over his chances of being in the required condition for a Vuelta start on August 20.
"The last few days in Girona actually went better than expected after a very difficult time in America with many changes in my training due to the head concussion," he added. "I was particularly tired and noticed that I often could train only two days in a row and after that, I had to rest a few days. It was very frustrating to constantly adjust my training, but it's common after a concussion. All in all, I've done far too little training in preparation for the Vuelta."
The four-day Tour de l'Ain kicks off Wednesday, August 10 with a 160km stage from La Plaine Tonique to Saint-Vulbas and concludes with a 127km stage from Lagnieu to Belley for the climbers.
LottoNL-Jumbo for 2016 Tour de l'Ain: Robert Gesink, Enrico Battaglin, Victor Campenaerts, Steven Lammertink, Jos van Emden and Alexey Vermeulen.