Cycling | 24 februari 2017

LottoNL-Jumbo prepares Abu Dhabi Tour’s mountain stage

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s climbers are ready for the summit finish in the Abu Dhabi Tour tomorrow after surviving the first two flat stages of the Abu Dhabi Tour without a scratch. Robert Gesink, Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett all finished today and yesterday in the same time as the stage winner. Today, Marcel Kittel won the stage and Mark Cavendish stayed in the race lead.

“The GC is going to be decided in the mountain stage tomorrow,” Gesink said.

“All we need to do is be there and be ready. We are a strong team and both Steven and I have shown strong lately. I did so in the Tour Down Under and Steven in Valenciana. I'm ready to race with him.”

The second stage, 153 kilometres around the UAE’s capital, had a similar storyline to yesterday’s. A breakaway held trough until the final kilometres, when the sprint teams gobbled them up. Kittel won the bunch sprint and Italian Enrico Battaglin led home the team in 18th.

Robert Gesink, who finished 42nd, sits 34th overall. He is in the same time as the other classification men, but that will change tomorrow. The 10.6-kilometre climb to the finish line should decide the race overall classification.

Gesink, Kruijswijk and Bennett will lead the team. Gesink added, “It is nice that George is back. Last season, he was very strong and it would be nice if we can compete for a good result with this trio.”

Lobato did not start

Team LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter Juan José Lobato could not start today.  Sportive Director Merijn Zeeman said it was the right decision.

"Lobato slept badly last night and was blocked up in his nose and forehead,” explained Zeeman. “He didn’t have a fever but was not fit enough to race."

His attention turns to the team’s classification men and the Jabel Hafeet climb tomorrow.

"The last few days went well. Even today, with the threat of the wind, the riders rode sharply. George is doing well, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I wonder how we as a team will compare to our opponents."