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"They caught me on top of the ascent and in the descent, but I was able to ride on my own pace uphill. That’s why I think it was a clever decision to attack.”

Photo: LottoNL-Jumbo

LAURENS TEN DAM

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ROBERT GESINK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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23.07.2015 @ 19:49 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Robert Gesink showed his form in the 18th stage of the Tour de France. He finished 11th in the second stage through the Alps and was able to maintain his sixth position in the general classification. Roman Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) won the stage.

 

“It was a tough day,” Gesink said directly after the race. “We had to chase on the breakaway from the beginning, because there were some riders in it who are well placed in the overall. We took part in that chase as well. That’s why it hurt me so much.”

 

But the climber was still able to attack on the Col du Glandon, which was the executioner of the day.

 

“They gave me a little bit of space on that climb,” he continued. “That was nice. They caught me on top of the ascent and in the descent, but I was able to ride on my own pace uphill. That’s why I think it was a clever decision to attack.”

 

On the last mountain of the day, Gesink led the yellow jersey group.

 

“I didn’t feel so good at that moment actually,” he explained. “I was in eighth position in the beginning of the ascent to Lacets de Montvernier, but it was twisting and turning all the time. I had to slow down and accelerate on and on. I didn’t like that way of riding. That’s why I decided to take the lead of the group and ride at my own pace. When you look at today from that position, it went quite well. But hurt a lot. Sometimes, you don’t feel great in a race but you’re still able to go through it. It was that kind of race for me, today.”

 

Gesink had a lot of support from Steven Kruijswijk.

 

“I felt good from the beginning of the stage,” Kruijswijk said. “That’s why I was able to be there for a long time. It’s nice to feel that I’m improving and that I’m able to support Robert. I think that he has the chance to finish fifth in this Tour, so we go for it. Besides that, I’m looking forward to the stage to Alpe d’Huez because I never climbed that mountain before.”

 

Laurens ten Dam is still ill.

 

“I was with the last five riders who reached the top of the Col du Glandon today,” he said. “That’s no fun when you are used to something else. But I’m breathing through a reed at the moment. Does it make sense to keep going? That’s what I’ve been thinking about, but to reach Paris is always a target. I don’t think I’m too good to have that as a target. I won’t quit. I don’t have a fever, so it’s not irresponsible. I’m not able to perform anymore, but you’d only quit two days before Paris when you don’t have any other option.”

 

Sports Director Nico Verhoeven was looking back at a good 18th stage.

 

“Robert did a great job,” he said. “We were able to support him as a team as well. Steven stayed with him a long time and he was able to attack on the Glandon. He was controlling the race. We have to see if he can do that another time in the next days. Those stages have two very hard finals in which a man-to-man fight on the last mountain will decide who is going to win.”

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