Gesink leads Belkin in Il Lombardia
The Belkin Pro Cycling Team aim for the 107th Giro di Lombardia with Robert Gesink. The Dutchman has worked hard to be in the right shape for Sunday.
Gesink stayed in Italy after last week’s World Championship road race and trained in the Lombardy region. He previewed the final 120 kilometres of Il Lombardia. “And I did that for a reason”, said Gesink. “Of course it’s nice to escape the bad Dutch weather at the moment but that’s just a bonus. I’m ambitious. I want to take what I can get at the end of the season. This is a race for men with a big engine.”
Gesink finished ninth in 2009. “I hope that Belkin can get a good result. The Worlds didn’t go according to plan for me but that does not say anything. Before that race, I did quite well. My morale is high and I’ve proven in the past that I can do well in Lombardia.”
Sports Director Nico Verhoeven explained Gesink will lead the team but that he has important tasks for all of his riders.
“Laurens crashed during the Worlds and isn’t completely recovered but he’s a very good supporting rider,” Verhoeven said.
“Lars Petter did well in Florence and is fine. He and Tom-Jelte Slagter will be free to force an early escape. Hopefully they can be valuable for the team in the final. Stef Clement, Bram Tankink and David Tanner are strong helpers who know exactly what to do.”
Verhoeven thinks Giro di Lombardia suits Gesink as its like the GP Quebec, a race for tough men. With his victory in Canada, Gesink proved his class. “Lombardia is always a battlefield. It is a fair contest and we are capable.”
Bauke Mollema initially was due to start the Giro di Lombardia but after consultation with the Belkin Pro Cycling Team’s medical staff, he decided to take a rest. He is still suffering from the knee injury he sustained in Firenze during the World Championships.
Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Robert Gesink, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Bram Tankink and David Tanner
Michiel Elijzen and Nico Verhoeven