The Rabobank management team of Erik Breukink, Adri van Houwelingen and Frans Maassen selected five Dutchmen (Gesink, Bauke Mollema, Laurens ten Dam, Lars Boom and Maarten Tjallingii), three Spaniards (Léon Sanchez, Juan Manuel Garate and Carlos Barredo), and Germany’s Grischa Niermann.
Surprisingly Denmark’s Matti Breschel is not in the final nine, while former world champion Oscar Freire is unavailable after recently undergoing a sinus operation.
"We going with an absolute leader for the Tour but we’ve also got a balanced team. We hope to help him finish near the podium despite the fierce competition,” Breukink said on the team’s website.
Gesink finished sixth last in last year’s Tour de France, 9:31 behind Alberto Contador. He rode the Critérium du Dauphiné as his final build-up race, testing his form in the mountains and studying the Grenoble time trial that will also be used in the Tour de France. He then stayed in the French Alps to recon the key climbs in this year’s race.
"The Dauphiné went completely as we hoped and studying the stages of the Tour has boosted my confidence. The mountain stages (in the Critérium du Dauphiné) boosted my confidence," Gesink said.
Gesink is especially motivated for the stage finish on L’Alpe d’Huez, which is often packed with Dutch cycling fans.
“To be honest, I don't really care if I win atop the Galibier or L'Alpe d'Huez. I’m quite looking forward to them both but it (L’Alpe d’Huez) is a Dutch mountain.”