Robert Gesink has taken advantage of the off-season to go and catch some winter sun and reconnoitre the 2016 Olympic courses in Rio this week. The 29-year-old travelled out with teammates Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Anna van der Breggen, Ellen van Dijk, Chantal Blaak, and Annemiek van Vleuten and was happy with what he saw.
"It's super tough," he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "There is a fairly steep climb and a very technical descent. I am satisfied. The harder the better."
The road race course for the 2016 Olympics will be a picturesque one as it travels along the beachfront from Copacabana to Barra de Guaratiba and back. The 8.6km climb on the Canoas/Vista Chinesa Circuit is expected to break up the peloton and allow the climbers to shine. There is also a two-kilometre cobbled section to contend with.
If Gesink competes it will be his third Olympic Games after riding in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. His build-up towards Rio is yet to be decided but in 2012 the Dutchman rode the Tour de France, though he abandoned midway through. Gesink, who was at the Tour de France presentation last week, would like to ride the French Grand Tour in 2016.
"It would be perfect to still ride the Tour de France in the run up to the Olympics. What role I would be riding is not yet clear."
Gesink and his teammates are not the only ones to head to South America to have a sneaky look at the course recently. Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski posted a picture of himself on Twitter as he checked out the cobbled section of the route. Alexis Vuillermoz won the Olympic test event back in August of this year.