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"I am not satisfied about the time trial. It was hard, I could not focus today, I was everywhere in my thoughts, due to some private matters. It's just the way it is, and we'll see tomorrow." 

Photo: Sirotti












02.09.2014 @ 20:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Robert Gesink finished 18th in the Vuelta a Espana to remain in the overall top 10. However, the Dutchman was not pleased with his performance after private matters had made it difficult for him to stay focused.


Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM endured a difficult time trial across northern Spain to keep their GC options fully intact in stage 10 on Tuesday at the Vuelta a España.

Robert Gesink was 18th at 2:01 behind stage-winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick), with Wilco Kelderman 32nd at 2:22 slower. That pushed Gesink into ninth overall, at 2:38 behind new leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Kelderman 12th at 3:29 back.

"Considering how hard the course was today, we can be satisfied. The damage is not that bad," said Belkin Sports Director Erik Dekker. "Wilco is close to the top-10, and Robert is not too far behind, so it's looking pretty good going into the final half of the Vuelta."

Gesink admitted he had "trouble concentrating" during the 36.7km time trial from Santa María de Veruela to Borja.

"I am not satisfied about the time trial. It was hard, I could not focus today, I was everywhere in my thoughts, due to some private matters," Gesink said. "It's just the way it is, and we'll see tomorrow."

Kelderman also hoped for more, but he's hanging close to his pre-Vuelta goal of a top-10 overall.

"The feeling was not great, and you could never get a good rhythm. It was really hard," Kelderman said. "In the downhill, it was technical, then you had bumpy roads. The last 10km, I felt a lot better. I did my best."

Belkin riders agreed the time trial was no walk in the park. With a mix of hills, rough road surfaces, warm temperatures, and gusting wind, it was a challenging stage.

"It's not a real nice time trial. The roads are really rough. You could better go on a cyclocross bike than a TT bike," said Paul Martens. "I have a bit of a saddle-sore, so am glad that it is over."

Laurens ten Dam, who rode to ninth overall at the Tour de France, agreed it was a hard race.

"It's a hard time trial. I don't like TTs, I like climbing," said Ten Dam, now 24th overall. "Let's see if I can do a good attack in one of the mountain stages, but also helping Robert and Wilco will be important. My main focus will be to help Robert, but a stage win would be nice, too."

The 69th Vuelta continues Wednesday with the 153.4km 11th stage from Pamplona to San Miguel de Aralar, the Vuelta's third mountaintop finale.

"Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance," Dekker said. "I am convinced Contador will win the Vuelta now, but I am curious about what will happen with the others. One day they are strong, the next weak. I think there will be some opportunities for us."



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