Robert Gesink has made it clear that the Tour de France is his main target in 2014 and now the Dutchman has revealed most of his schedule for the first part of the season. He will kick off in Australia when he lines up in the Tour Down Under and will ride the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Amstel Gold Race and Tour of California as he continues his preparation for the French grand tour.
Robert Gesink had a disappointing grand tour campaign in 2013. His quest to finish on the Giro d'Italia podium was unsuccessful when he was forced to abandon the race prematurely and in the Tour de France he rode in support of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam.
In the final part of the season, he showed that his is still a force to be reckoned with when he won the GP Quebec and was 5th in the Tour of Alberta, 8th in the Tour of Beijing and 10th in Il Lombardia. In 2014, he plans to bring that kind of form to the Tour de France where he hopes to improve on the 5th place he took in 2010.
Gesink was once regarded as a future grand tour winner but in recent years his progress has stalled. After getting close to winning the Vuelta in 2009 where he was hampered by a crash in the final week, and taking that career-best 5th place in the Tour one year later, he has been unable to repeat those performances in the three-week races.
He hopes that 2014 will be the year that turns things around when he lines up in France as the co-leader alongside Bauke Mollema. And now he has almost finalized the schedule that should allow him to reach the French grand tour in perfect condition.
According to Omroep Gelderland, Gesink will make his first ever appearance in the Tour Down Under in January. In February, he will return to the Tour of Oman which he won in 2011. After riding the Paris-Nice in 2013, he will do the Tirreno-Adriatico in March and will try to improve the 2nd place he obtained in 2011.
In April, Gesink will ride his biggest home race, the Amstel Gold Race, in which he finished 3rd in 2009. His Tour de France preparation will get into its crucial phase in May when he lines up in the Tour of California which he won in 2012.
The indicated schedule is unlikely to be exhaustive. For instance, one would expect Gesink to do all of the Ardennes classics and is likely to ride at least one race in the period between the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Amstel Gold Race.
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