Gesink: This Vuelta is the hardest race I've seen

Robert Gesink (Rabobank) aims to put a disappointing Tour de France behind him as he lines up for the start of the Vuelta a España. The 26-year-old climber abandoned this year’s Tour but with two top ten finishes in the Vuelta, is hopeful of a strong showing in the Spanish three-week race.

After a strong ride in the recent Tour of Burgos, where he finished sixth, Gesink is still cautious about his chances though. Despite the climber-suited parcour the Rabobank rider admits that the 10 summit finishes make this a challenge he has never encountered before.

"For me personally I’d like to see where I am again after a difficult season coming back. Hopefully I can make it to the highest level," he told Cyclingnews.

"It’s day-by-day especially in a Vuelta like this with all these difficult days. Of course I don’t know how I’m going to react in the race but I hope that I can find my old legs again in race I’ve done well at in the past. I hope to be there at the top but that’s three weeks from now."

"But this is a really difficult race. I think it’s the most difficult parcour I’ve seen in a grand tour ever since I’ve been a bike rider. It’s another reason to take it steady and day-by-day. It’s a grand tour for climbers but things can happen in the first week but there are already uphills but a lot of things can happen even before the final week of climbing. It could make it a really surprising grand tour."

Rabobank lines up with another Dutch rider who has tasted success at the Vuelta. Like Gesink, Bauke Mollema started this year’s Tour with hopes of  the GC. However he too crashed out and will be looking to rediscover the form and confidence that helped him climb to fourth in last year’s race.

"We're here with two guys and Bauke showed last year in the overall with fourth. He’s one of the guys who we can also expect things from but we’ve got a really strong team. We’re ready for it. Bauke, he’s in top shape and he’s certainly ready and motivated," Gesink added.


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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.