Cycling | 18 januari 2017

Gesink almost in the top 10 after Tour Down Under’s first mountain stage

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink sits 11th overall in the Tour Down Under after today’s mountain top finish stage in Paracombe.  Richie Porte (BMC) won the stage ahead of two pursuers and with 19 seconds on a group with Gesink.


"We got in good position at the foot of the climb, from there the peloton sped up and never slowed down,” said Gesink, who placed 19th. “My watts were high, that means not only the level in the peloton is high but that I’m in a good shape. That gives me confidence to ride a top five with the final on Willunga Hill."


The 148.5-kilometre stage began in Stirling. After 25 kilometres, German Jasha Sutherlin (Movistar) escaped and gained four minutes. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Alexey Vermeulen tried cross over but could not close on Sutherlin. It did not matter because with 35 kilometres remaining, the group was all together.


"It was a nice stage. First we raced five local laps on a tough course, but not at full speed,” added Gesink. “On the climb, we pushed and pulled to get in good position.”


Early on the Torrens Hill Road the finish, Porte opened the gas and only a few riders could remain in contact. Gesink said that he has perfect position.


Porte won the second stage with a lead of 16 seconds on Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica). Gesink was in a group three seconds later and moved up to 11th overall, 29 seconds behind the new leader Richie Porte.


‘The team supported Robert’


Sports Director Addy Engels underlined the dominance of Porte.


“Porte stood out but everyone else was close together,” Engels said. “The team supported Robert well and before the climb not much happened.


"The coming days will likely be sprint stages and the decision will happen on Willunga Hill on Saturday."