Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink finished second in the Vuelta a España’s stage 10 to Lagos de Covadonga today. Gesink made the escape with his team-mate Victor Campenaerts and was the last rider to hang on, finishing behind winner Quintana (Movistar) and holding off Chris Froome (Sky).
"This was a nice day, it’s not fun that another rider was faster, but it gives me a good feeling,” said Gesink. He marked the attacks and then left his former escape companions behind. "It is not about who is the first to attack and who goes the fastest immediately, so I set my own pace and I quickly noticed that I could drop the others.
"Campenaerts did a good job, too. He ensured the speed stayed high when there was a lack of collaboration in the break. Even I went to the front a few times to set the pace because the majority were mainly concerned with the last climb, instead of maximising the lead we had."
The stage began with a bit of chaos and some falls. "We saved ourselves in the first two hours of the race. We avoided the crashes, as well,” said Sports Director Addy Engels. "We made the break of 16 with our men. Victor Campenaerts did a lot of work so that Gesink could go free. The only thing Robert could do is ride as hard as possible, and he did that.”
‘Back on track’
"My goal is to be good in the second part of the Vuelta,” Gesink continued. “My feeling is that today, the second part of the Vuelta began. "We all were in a difficult spot after Kruijswijk had to abandon. It lasted for days, but now we have turned things around."
"The last few days were a lot better,” Engels said. “It is nice to see that the team has picked itself up. It took a while but we are back on track."
Behind the escape, George Bennett rode among the favourites for a long time. The New Zealander finished 23rd and remained in the classification’s top twenty.
"Bennett held up well during the final climb, but it’s not our plan to keep him in the GC,” Engels added. “We want to ensure that, like today, we can create a chance to win a stage. I also see an opportunity for Bennett."