Cycling | 21 januari 2017
Robert Gesink places ninth in the Tour Down Under’s queen stage
Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink climbed to ninth on the Willunga Hill stage and eighth overall in the Tour Down Under on Saturday. Overall leader Richie Porte (BMC) attacked on the finishing climb to not only secure his jersey, but add to his lead in the Australian stage race.
Gesink finished 23 seconds behind in the 151-kilometre stage and moved to 1-12 minutes in the classification. The race ends tomorrow in Adelaide.
"It was a tough final today but I pulled out the maximum. I must be satisfied with the 9th place in the stage and the 8th place in the GC. The level in this race is high and I'm glad I’ve got that level during last week. "
Four men broke free in the stage. Teams BMC, Orica and Sky controlled the race and the lead remained between three and four minutes for a long time. Sky and Orica went full-gas over the final 10 kilometres and had the leaders nailed down for the famous climb in Australian racing.
On Willunga Hill, the top favourite Porte showed why he already won three times on this climb. In the final kilometre, he accelerated clear with no rivals in his slipstream. 20 seconds later, Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) beat Esteban Chaves (Orica) in the sprint for second.
Gesink arrived just behind these finishers. The leader of team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 23 seconds after Porte’s victory and moved back into the top 10 again.
Gesink started WIllunga Hill just behind Sky and Orica. "I felt good and i drove well on the climb. Especially in the last part it went well. It is nice to race in the Tour Down Under. It is a beautiful course with enthusiastic people."
‘The team worked for Robert today’
Sports Director Addy Engels is satisfied with the result of the Queens stage. “Robert pulled out everything is this was the maximum for him. The team have worked well toward WIllunga Hill. The climb of WIllunga Hill went very fast and there was nothing to do against an outstanding Porte. Gesink could stay in the group just behind Chaves and Henao.
With one stage to go, Engels can start to look back. “It’s nice to finish with Gesink in the top 10. It’s a WorldTour Race, the highest level. It’s a good result to got in the top 10 in these races.”