Robert Gesink’s performance in Thursday’s second stage of the Volta ao Algarve surprised even himself. The Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 16th behind solo winner Geraint Thomas (Sky).
“I did not expect to reach this level just yet,” Gesink said. “It wasn’t easy today, but doesn’t always need to be the case. This indicates that I’m pretty strong. That’s a nice feeling to look ahead to.”
Portugal marks the first race since last year’s Vuelta a España for Gesink, who just returned from an altitude training camp.
“We were a little uncertain about his shape, but he did well finishing in a group of favourites. That’s satisfying,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said.
The last fifty kilometres were “super tough.” “It went up and down and it was tossing and turning. Maarten Wynants and Sep Vanmarcke assisted me perfectly in the final,” Gesink added. “They helped me to start the downhill to the final climb at the front of the peloton.”
Thomas attacked this first group on the climb during a flat stretch of road together with Rein Taaramäe. Behind them, Gesink and Michael Kwiatkowski had to bridge to group of five that tried to chase down the two leaders.
“We managed to close the gap, but I wasted all my power for the sprint with that effort. But there was no other way, though. I had to do it.”
Bianchi Aquila CV
Gesink is looking forward to tomorrow’s 19-kilometer time trial after his strong performance. “I’m excited. Also because I’ll use the new time trial bike of Bianchi for the first time. It feels really good. I’m curious.”