Gesink set to race 2018 Tour Down Under

Australian WorldTour event to be Dutchman's first outing since fracturing vertebra at Tour de France

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) will return to Adelaide, Australia in January for his third career Tour Down Under appearance according to reports in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The first race on the WorldTour calendar takes place 16-21 January around Adelaide, South Australia.

Gesink hasn't raced since leaving the Tour de France in July having sustained a fractured vertebra in a stage nine crash. The Dutchman avoided surgery but was forced to wear a back brace for two months following the crash. Able to use a home trainer with his brace on, Gesink returned to training on the road last month.

Gesink's best Tour Down Under result came in 2014 when he placed sixth while at the 2017 edition of the race, he was eighth overall. The race programme for the 'The Condor of Varsseveld' is set to be finalised at the LottoNL-Jumbo team camp in early-December. According to the Dutch newspaper, Gesink is also to race the Tour de France again in July. Likely teammates include Tour de France stage winners Dylan Groenewegen, Primoz Roglic, Lars Boom, and Jos van Emden, Steven Kruijswijk, Timo Roosen and Koen Bouwman.

De Telegraaf also reports that Boom wil return to the Tour Down Under and won't be racing any 'cross events during the off-season. Boom has started his season in Australia for the last two years, using the six-stage race as an important block in the build up the classics.

New Zealander George Bennett is also set to race the Tour Down Under after he was forced out of the race in 2017 due to glandular fever. The Tour of California winner fell ill at the Tour de France was despite recovering, was ht again by illness at the Vuelta a España and was forced to abandon. It is likely Bennett would race the New Zealand nationals the week prior to the Tour Down Under.

The full LottoNl-Jumbo rider programme is set to be finalised at the team camp with a roster announcement for the Tour Down Under expected in early-January. 

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