Robert Gesink of Team LottoNL-Jumbo fought up the Vuelta a España's stage 17 steep finishing climb to place third today. Gesink was with his team-mate Bram Tankink in a leading group, and only Frank (IAM) and König (Sky) were better on the Camins del Penygolosa in Llucena. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains in the lead.
"It was another good day for us, we fought and took opportunities in the final. Then you aim for the highest possible and I think today, it was the third place for Robert Gesink," said Sports Director Jan Boven.
"In the beginning, there were a lot of attacks. As a team, we had several riders to jump and if one was caught, the other went. Gesink was riding attentive and aggressively to get into the break, he was in almost every escape. Eventually, he escaped with Bram Tankink."
Before the final climb, several riders tried to escape and Tankink closed the gaps. Cataldo (Astana) and Frank escaped with 30 kilometres to go, but stayed within reach. On the final climb, Gesink could still overtake Cataldo but König and Frank were just too strong.
Jan Boven had a good look road book. "In addition to the stage to Covadonga, where Gesink was second, and the stage to the Aubisque that Gesink won, this also was a stage where we knew there was a possibility for a good result. It's good that Gesink succeed again to get in the leading group.
"On Saturday, we want to go again for the highest possible place. That final climb should also suit Gesink, and let's hope that he can go in the front group again."
"If you had told me two months ago that I would be third in a mountain stage in La Vuelta, I would be very happy. After my stage win and my second place, I know what the strength of the other riders are, and it is a pity to miss this chance.
"I am happy with the work Tankink did for me, he completely gave everything for me and it went according to plan. Frank and Cataldo escaped but it remained under control. Unfortunately, Frank was the strongest, I chased König a couple of times down but they came back and I rode on. I prefer a constant style ascent instead of this climb. "
"This Saturday I'll have another chance, I was once third on that climb, I will do everything to try it again. "
George Bennett retained his 12th place in the overall standings. The New Zealander of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 38th, 1-17 minutes behind the leader in the overall standings, Nairo Quintana.