Robert Gesink finished 15th in the Flèche Wallonne today in southern Belgium. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s climber followed the group of favourites, but faded in the last few hundred metres. Like the last three editions, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde won the race.
"The result is OK, but not super," said Robert Gesink. "I felt good today, but the Mur de Huy doesn’t lie. My position at the beginning was not very good. Normally, I'm good at it, but today's my positioning was not great. Still, when it really started, I was there.
“I ride like a diesel, at the beginning of the Mur, it's just giving everything, and doing so until the top! Eventually, I overtook some riders and some riders fell behind."
Gesink’s experience paid off and he found the right spot. Only in the last 300 metres, Valverde and a handful of others ground ahead on the climb above Huy.
The favourites could play for the win after an early break faded away. Six riders moved free in the early hours and the major teams controlled the race. At 35 kilometres to go, the breakaway was caught and different riders tried to escape.
Enrico Battaglin and Bert-Jan Lindeman kept Gesink in front. At the foot of the Mur, the peloton was no bigger than 30 riders.
The race marked Gesink’s return after a rest period and a short training session in Andorra. It forms part of a busy period for the Dutchman.
"We added this race to my schedule. After my training in Andorra, this was ideal in the lead-up to the Tour de Romandie, which will start on Tuesday next week,” added Gesink.
"This begins a long series for me. After Romandie, I’ll race in California and then, after an altitude training camp, I head for the Dutch Championships and the Tour.”