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Robert Gesink (Rabobank).
GP Montréal winner confident ahead of fall Classic
After his win in yesterday's Grand Prix de Montréal, Rabobank's Robest Gesink is now focused on another strong showing in the celebrated fall Classic, the Giro di Lombardia.
The Dutchman will not represent his country in the UCI road world championships in Geelong, Australia later this month and doesn't regret the decision, citing travel time, the Worlds course and his lofty ambitions for the northern Italian race as reasons why forgoing a crack at the rainbow stripes doesn't bother him.
Gesink said on the Rabobank team's website: "24 hours on the plane is not good preparation for a one-day race. The course in Australia is also not difficult enough for me. I can really not make a difference.
"With a different preparation and another course [in Lombardy] I made sure that the races here in Canada were perfect for me. No world championships. We're setting up everything for Lombardy."
And he'll undoubtedly start the 'Race of the falling leaves' as one of the favourites after his excellent performance in Québec and Montréal; of particular note was his victory in the latter event, beating the likes of Samuel Sanchez, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and local boy Ryder Hesjedal, who finished one place below Gesink on the final general classification at this year's Tour de France.
"This is the greatest victory so far in my career. The first win in a ProTour race. My first win on a course like this. But above all, the way I pulled myself inside out so much," he explained.
Gesink believes that Montréal event was, "more difficult than in Québec. Since I was certainly as good as today, but the course was different. The Montréal [course] suited me better, though I still prefer the finish on top of that climb [in Québec], but you cannot have it all.
"The finale began five laps before the end. But I've always sat in during the race," he said of his race-winning tactics. "In the finale we had to work hard, but the boys also did very well. I felt good all the time, but I had to keep quiet."
Gesink also noted that a newly-found patience served him well in the finale, explaining that "It was waiting, waiting and waiting. I always had the idea that on the last difficult climb I'd go for it and then drive hard to see whether it was sufficient."
The tactic worked, netting Gesink a hard-fought win and making him the in-form rider heading into the October 16 event. While that's more than a month away, if the mercurial 24-year-old can remain injury-free there's every chance he could be adding another trophy to the cabinet in 2010.