So far so good for Gesink's return to California

LottoNL-Jumbo's Robert Gesink has had a pretty low-key reintroduction to the Tour of California this week. The 2012 overall winner finished 27th on stage 1 and 17th on stage 2 and currently sits 19th overall, just 20 seconds off the lead of Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep).

He narrowly avoided a crash 10km from the finish during Monday's second stage, but he's sitting in good position heading into the difficult stage 3 route around San Jose.

"Today was really good," Gesink told Cyclingnews Monday in Lodi. "Yesterday was a tough day to start with. It was tactical, and then today a little bit. Yesterday was a bit more nervous, but so far I'm good."

The San Jose stage is a bit of an enigma, with five categorised climbs before an uphill finish outside of town. But it's unclear whether the stage will set a pecking order for the overall contenders or just provide a selection for a new stage winner aside from Cavendish, who won stages 1 and 2.

"I think it will be a selection day, but they say it's really difficult," he said. "I've been racing in this area and training before, but I can't really say how difficult exactly it will be.

"We’ll have to see, but Mt. Hamilton, the climb, I know. And I know the area a bit, so it will be more of a GC day than today, for sure."

The one downside for Gesink and his team was the misfortune of sprinter Tom Van Asbroeck, who went down in Monday's crash and missed out on a chance for a result.

"Tom got up again," Gesink said. "He's our sprinter. He's a really young guy with lots of potential there, but of course you have to have some luck. This year he's crashed a few times. That's part of his job, I guess. But we have to see how he gets through this."

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.