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Cycling | 1 oktober 2016

Robert Gesink seventh in Il Lombardia

Robert Gesink placed seventh in a hard edition of Il Lombardia today in Bergamo. The Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo sprinted for sixth place behind a group with winner Esteban Chaves (Orica) and only Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) beat him.

"It was a tough day, but I felt good,” Gesink said. “I'm happy with seventh place. The race was long and we raced fast today."

The riders fought some time into the 241-kilometre race before an escape broke clear. They gained time, but Orica and Movistar worked to pick them off one by one. Gesink opened the final with a counter-attack at 60 kilometres remaining. "I decided to go early because I felt good, and certainly in view of the tough climb coming. It was a good decision. Soon the favourites joined me. From that moment on, I only had to follow,” Gesink said.

Chaves rode clear with Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale), Diego Rosa (Astana) and Romain Bardet (AG2R). “I rode my own pace at the start of the climb and I could not follow the group. The four men who attacked were just stronger, plus, in our group, they had team-mates. I went full on the last climb in Bergamo and I still had a nice sprint."

It marked the end to his season. "After the trouble at the beginning of the year, I finished well with a good Vuelta and a good result in Lombardy. I’ll relax and make plans for 2017."

‘Beautiful'

"Secretly you hope for a top 10 and we're glad we did it,” added Sports Director Addy Engels. “The four men in front were the strongest and it is beautiful that Gesink still can sprint to seventh place. ”Gesink was certainly not the best, but he fought to stay there with them. We were pleasantly surprised when he only Valverde pipped him in the sprint.

Only 60 men finished in Bergamo, which Engels said was not a surprise. "Many riders knew that he final would be heavy, so they tried to escape. It took a while before there was a breakaway, which made the race hard at the start. On the biggest climb of the day, Valcava, the peloton broken into pieces and Gesink held his ground,” Engels explained.