The 2012 Tour de France was a largely disappointing one for Dutch outfit Rabobank and on completion of that race they immediately turned their focus towards the Vuelta a España, which is now less than two weeks away.
The team's two main general classification hopes for the season's final grand tour, Bauke Mollema and Robert Gesink, both suffered injuries in crashes at the Tour de France and pulled out of the race ahead of the 12th stage alongside teammate Mark Renshaw.
Both Mollema and Gesink were on hand at the recent Vuelta a Burgos as part of their preparation for the Vuelta a España, which starts in Pamplona on August 18. While Gesink was satisfied with his sixth place overall there, Mollema was less so with finishing in 33rd position. The team as a whole performed well, taking victories on stage three (Matti Breschel) and stage four (Paul Martens).
Gesink, who injured his ribs in his stage six crash at the Tour, will also line-up for the Clásica de San Sebastián on August 14. Following his strong showing in Burgos he is confident of performing well there and at the Vuelta.
"This [the Vuelta a Burgos] was a preparation race," Gesink told De Telegraaf. "I still feel pain in my ribs, but it is ok to race. I am very satisfied with my level here. It must of course better for Spain, but we still have two weeks before the start. We will go to San Sebastián with a strong team. The intention there is to win. If successful, we have immediately put the finishing touches for the Vuelta a España."
Mollema's form is more worrying and in 2012 he has yet to hit the heights of last year, when he finished fourth overall at the Vuelta and was voted Holland's rider of the year. His finishing position in Burgos was outside the top 30 and he was more than six minutes behind the race winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha). Sporting Director Erik Dekker admitted that Mollema has plenty of work to do in the next two weeks to get in shape for the Vuelta.
"If you have two weeks before the start of the Vuelta are not good enough for the first 15 in a race like this, there is still much work to do," Dekker told De Telegraaf.
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