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2013 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec champion Robert Gesink (Belkin) on the podium
Belkin rider to ease back into racing after heart procedure
Robert Gesink will not ride the Tour de France this year. The Dutchman underwent a medical procedure for a heart problem in early May, and although he has been training at altitude in the Sierra Nevada in Spain, Gesink decided, in agreement with the team’s management, not ride the Tour de France. "The race comes too soon for the Team Belkin rider,” the team announced on Tuesday morning.
Gesink will return to racing next week at the Ster ZLM Toer in the Netherlands, followed by the Dutch national championships, the Tour of Poland the end of July, and then the Vuelta a Espana.
In mid-April, Gesink announced that he was suffering with a cardiac arrhythmia and that he would take a break from racing until the problem was resolved. He started training again shortly after the medical procedure on May 6.
“I will also be aware not to start catching up with everything too fast so I would start the Tour already exhausted. If that is the case, the Vuelta might be a better option,” he said at the time. “Answers to those questions will come to me in the upcoming weeks.”
Gesink and the Belkin team has decided that it is better to wait.
“Participating in the Tour de France was a possibility, but the reality is that the periods before and after the surgery were extremely tough. It wouldn’t be wise to prepare myself for the most important race of the year in a forced way. To start in the Tour de France you have to be in top form, and I’m not fully confident that I am at this point.”
Belkin is expected to name Bauke Mollema as team leader for the Tour de France. He finished sixth overall last year after a consistent performance.