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"We are absolutely satisfied. Gesink did an excellent job, and moved up two spots on the GC. We are really proud of that result."

Photo: Sirotti












08.09.2014 @ 20:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Robert Gesink was one of the big winners in today's stage of the Vuelta a Espana. The Dutchman finished a strong 8th and moved up two spots in the GC.


Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM's Robert Gesink rode wonderfully in the gruelling, five-climb "queen stage" Monday at the Vuelta a España to climb two places on GC into seventh overall.

Gesink was eighth in the 160.5km 16th stage finishing atop Lagos de Somiedo, at 1:22 behind stage-winner and race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Gesink paced into seventh overall, now 6:43 back.

"We are absolutely satisfied. Gesink did an excellent job, and moved up two spots on the GC. We are really proud of that result," said Belkin Sports Director Merijn Zeeman.

"Everyone gave their maximum today. We have to continue like this for one more week. Because we gained two spots, it was good for us, better than for some other teams. The guys are happy that it is behind us, and we can be proud of the results."

Belkin's plan for the first part of the stage worked out well, with Laurens ten Dam riding into the day's main breakaway. The group was eventually reeled in, and Contador attacked late to win the stage.

"We wanted to have Laurens in the breakaway for a chance to win the stage, but the peloton didn't give them a lot of space. Katusha started to pull immediately," Zeeman said.

"My legs are not as good as they were in the Tour de France, but good enough to get into the breakaway. I felt immediately my legs were not good enough for the stage win," said Ten Dam, now 40th overall. "I tried to stay on as long as possible to help Robert, but it didn't work out, but I was able to help Wilco. After that, I just coasted in to the finish. It's really good what Robert did, and tomorrow we have a nice rest day."

Wilco Kelderman finished 29th on the stage to retain his solid placing overall at 15th overall at 17:54 back. The gruelling climbing stage was hard for everyone, even support riders, such as Martijn Keizer, who finished 59th on the stage.

"I think we got lucky with the weather. It was supposed to rain, but it stayed dry all day. For sure, it was hard. I had a good day, and it was good to have a good day today," Keizer said. 

"Everybody takes their own rhythm on the final uphill. I was with Stef [Clement] for awhile, and we talked a lot, because it wasn't full gas for us."

After two hard weeks of racing, the weary peloton enjoys the second of two rest days Tuesday, but not before a long, 300km transfer Monday night to the team hotel in La Coruña in Spain's Galicia region.

"There is a long transfer, and it will be very late arriving to the hotel. That's hard for the riders," Zeeman said. "Tomorrow is a rest day, but we have to be focused for the stage on Wednesday. You can only live day by day, because anything can happen on the flat stages."

The 69th Vuelta continues Wednesday with the 190.7km 17th stage over hilly terrain ideal for a breakaway from Ortigueira to La Coruña.



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