Robert Gesink (Belkin) has waved goodbye to a season of mixed fortunes at the Tour of Beijing. The Belkin rider finished eighth in the final WorldTour event of the season and will now head home to begin his off-season.
Gesink has enjoyed a late resurgence this Autumn. He was the surprise winner of the GP Cycliste Québec, as he out-sprinted both Arthur Vichot and Greg Van Avermaet. Gesink then went onto take a top 10 placing at Il Lombardia, 15 seconds behind race winner Joaquim Rodríguez. “In the end, if you can finish 10th in one of the biggest classics and you can do it every year, then every year you’ve had a good season,” the Dutchman told Cyclingnews.
Gesink also formed part of the Dutch squad at this year’s world championships, where although he failed to finish, he worked on behalf of Belkin teammate Bauke Mollema. “Bauke did really well,” says Gesink. “He was there in the end. It was a difficult race. It was really sketchy and everybody was crashing everywhere. It was a really special race and, in the end, we said we wanted top 10 and Bauke got 11th, so it was close.”
It has been a year of two halves for the Dutch rider. Most of his problems came earlier in the season at the Grand Tours, where he suffered from bad health, bad form and bad luck. He came close to winning stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia, when his chain slipped in the final three kilometres. The Dutchman abandoned the race a few days later, citing illness.
“It wasn’t what I expected,” said Gesink. “I went full gas for the GC and I got ill. Then, at the Tour, I wasn’t as fresh as I thought, so I worked for the team. That was a bit of a disappointment but, in the end, Quebec made up for a lot of less nice moments.”
No Giro for Gesink
Looking ahead to next season, Gesink has decided not to repeat the Giro-Tour double. “Next year I will go for the Tour again and go for GC,” he says. “I might do the Vuelta afterwards, but first it will just be the Tour.”
As a young rider, Gesink was touted as a future Tour de France winner. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he is yet to live up to that promise, and his best performance remains his fifth place finish at the 2010 Tour de France.
This year has seen the former wunderkind of Dutch Cycling surpassed by his teammate Bauke Mollema as the main general classification contender at Belkin. Despite this, Gesink hasn’t given up hope on standing on the top step at a grand tour. “I’m only 27. I’ve been there and I’ve been pretty close before so never say never.”
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