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"I have to thank Steven Kruijswijk again. He did a terrific job. I didn’t collapse in the end and was able to fight back to Nibali. I was exhausted in the last weeks. I’m glad that today was the last day. It’s finishe...

Photo: LottoNL-Jumbo

BRAM TANKINK

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NEWS

ROBERT GESINK

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NEWS

TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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25.07.2015 @ 19:37 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Robert Gesink held his position in the general classification of the Tour de France during the last stage through the Alps. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo front man suffered on the Alpe d’Huez, but was able to fight back into the group with his main rivals and hold sixth place. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the stage.

 

“The pace was already very high on the first climb,” Gesink said after the finish on top of the Alpe d’Huez. “I really had to push in that part of the race and I didn’t recover completely in the flat part in between the mountains. I have to thank Steven Kruijswijk again. He did a terrific job. I didn’t collapse in the end and was able to fight back to Nibali. I was exhausted in the last weeks. I’m glad that today was the last day. It’s finished, fortunately.”

 

Gesink, over three weeks, earned a sixth place in the general classification.

 

“That’s a superb result,” Gesink added. “I don’t think that I’m realising the worth of it. All the big guns for this year’s overall were able to stay in the Tour de France. That makes it even more special.”

 

Bram Tankink agreed.

 

“The five riders who finished above him have all won a big tour once in their lives. That proves how unique his performance is. I take my hat off with the greatest respect for him.”

 

Tankink enjoyed his ride up to the top of the Alpe d’Huez and brought his daughter a birthday present.

 

“A friend of mine brought a present for her with a balloon on it and he gave it to me on the Alpe d’Huez. My wife and my daughter were one turn further. I took the present with me and stopped for a while when I reached them. My daughter was impressed. Many people came towards us immediately. It was crazy,” he said.

 

Gesink was well supported by Steven Kruijswijk again today.

 

“I noticed that he didn’t feel great today,” Kruijswijk said. “That’s why we made some decisions already on the Col de la Croix de Fer. Robert wanted to ride at his own pace and didn’t want me to ride in front of him. On the Alpe d’Huez, I thought that we would have been able to return to the group with Nibali. I decided to set the pace at that moment and told him that he had to go faster if he didn’t want to ride behind me. He was able to profit from my work. Robert proved that he’s worth his sixth place during the last three weeks.”

 

“Robert was struggling today,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven added. “He wasn’t able to save energy so Steven had to stay with him. He supported Robert in a very good way. They finished the stage in a group with Contador, Nibali and Mollema in the end, so the result of the day wasn’t bad at all. It’s a pity that we weren’t able to fight for the stage victory because Steven was very strong.”

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