Lombardia: Gesink ends season on high

Dutchman wins Emilia, sixth in Lombardia despite Vuelta crash

Robert Gesink (Rabobank) ended his season in Como, Italy, on a high Saturday placing sixth in the Giro di Lombardia, backing up his recent win in Giro dell'Emilia and classification ride at the Vuelta a España.

"When you go for the classification in a Grand Tour you kill yourself. I was just happy to have my form back for Emilia," Dutchman Gesink told Cyclingnews.

Gesink finished the race on Como's lakefront in the chase group behind the winning escape of Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Added with Emilia seven days ago, it is courageous return from his crash in the Vuelta a España in September.

Gesink, 23, sat second in the overall classification of the Vuelta in the third week. He was ready to make his mark in a Grand Tour and amends for abandoning the Tour de France with a fractured wrist. Stage 17 to Talavera de la Reina changed his plans; he crashed and suffered a deep cut to his left knee.

Gesink finished the Vuelta a España sixth and recovered for his season finale. Based near Como, in Bellagio, he trained on Lombardia's Ghisallo and the once-used Muro di Sormano. He won Emilia at the end of five circuits up the San Luca climb and marked himself as a favourite for Lombardia.

"I placed sixth and I rode well, so that is a good way to end the season."

Gesink formed part of the front group of riders over the Ghisallo ahead of the race's final climbs, the Civiglio and San Fermo. Ahead of the Civiglio and a dangerous descent to San Fermo, he ordered his Dutch team to the front to capture the six-man escape.

"It is good thing to show yourself and take the lead. I hoped to be better after the team's work and really attack on the next climbs."

Gesink failed to follow the attack of Gilbert and then Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) on San Fermo, but remained with the chase group over the next six kilometres.

He ends his season also with a seventh at País-Vasco, third at Amstel Gold and fourth at Dauphiné Libéré.

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