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Dutch champion Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Riders recovering well from recent crashes
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) has enjoyed one of his best seasons to date which began with a powerful display in the spring Classics, a win in Dwars door Vlaanderen - Waregem and a fifth-place in Paris-Roubaix. He rode with panache in Amstel Gold, chasing after a late breakaway attempt by Oscar Freire (Katusha) however he was caught before the final ride to the finish.
The Dutch road title was won by Terpstra in solo fashion with his Olympic teammate Lars Boom (Rabobank) coming in a distant second. These two Classics specialists will lead the five-man Dutch team for Saturday’s Olympic road race. They will be backed by Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Dutch time trial champion Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge).
Terpstra chose not to ride the Tour de France and instead lined up at the Tour of Poland as part of his Olympic preparation. He thought this was a far better idea after seeing the carnage during the opening week in France. His Polish campaign didn’t go to plan, getting caught in a crash during the first stage and having to withdraw from the rest of the Tour.
"I thought: am I glad I did not ride around in that madness," he said in regard to the Tour. "You can call it ironic," after abandoning from the Tour of Poland.
His injuries have not affected his training or racing overly. He enjoyed the Tour of Wallonie without too much trouble and while he left before the start of stage five, it was part of his plans, travelling to London to prepare for the Olympic race.
"My condition after the fall [in Poland] is fine. At the national championships, I had a super day. That can be now. Now we just have to wait till Saturday for the racing to begin," he said.
Gesink and Westra have come from the Tour de France, however both of them failed to finish the Grand Tour due to injuries sustained in the opening week.
"After the three crashes I’ve had in the first week, I couldn’t go any further forward. My hip isn’t good, when I rode uphill I didn’t have any power," said Westra following his abandonment during stage 11.
Gesink withdrew from the Tour without any broken bones and has been making steady recovery since leaving France. He reported that he had spent nearly 15 hours on the road during a three-day period in Girona and was feeling better.
"Earliest ride ever! At 7'o clock on the bike for almost 220km, 261w avg. Feeling good again," he said on Twitter.
Lars Boom is still prepared to ride the time trial in place of Niki Terpstra and with a solid lead-up to the Games, he could be in contention for the win at the end of the day.