In conjunction with the new ‘Team of the Month‘ feature, Pavé will also be selecting riders who have excelled during the previous month to be named the Pavé Rider of the Month.
For February, this title is deservedly awarded to Robert Gesink of Rabobank. Gesink delivered an astoundingly good performance at the Tour of Oman, winning the Overall classification along with the Young Rider classification and grabbing two stage wins in doing so.
The young Dutchman made the decisive move on 157.5 kilometer Stage 4 of the Tour, where the race finished with the climb up to Jabal al Akhdhar, or Green Mountain. Gesink rode most of the climb in a commanding position, either 2nd wheel or at the front, demonstrating that he clearly wanted to be on-top of any action that sparked during the ascent. With 3 kilometers until the finish, he made his own move, quickly establishing a sizable gap on the rest of the lead group, with second place going to Boasson-Hagen of Sky at 47” and third to Devenyns of QuickStep at 51”.
However, Gesink’s victiory was not a flash-in-the-pan effort. During the stage, once 125 kilometers had been raced, the wind picked up and required anyone with an ambition of succeeding to work hard to avoid getting caught behind splits in the peloton. This was soon made clear by a group riding off the front of the peloton, containing riders such as Cancellara, Boonen, Goss and Gesink. The Rabobank star said: ”for me this was the day that I was looking forward to, and I wanted to be at my best”, and he certainly showed what he is capable of when he targets something.
The next day required that Gesink fight for the lead he had gained on the climb to the finish of Stage 4. Stage 5 was an 18.5 kilometer time-trial, during which specialists such as Cancellara and Pinotti could gain time on a lot of their rivals here. However, the course featured long climbs that suited Gesink, and he claimed a commanding victory once more, 16” ahead of Visconti who took second place. Gesink finished Stage 6 with a lead of 1’13 over Boasson-Hagen and 1’19 over Visconti.
Robert Gesink is not a stranger to great results, coming 6th overall in the 2010 Tour de France (while riding for his teammate Denis Menchov, who finished 3rd), 5th overall in the 2010 Tour de Suisse and winning the Giro dell’Emilia in 2009 and 2010. As we said in February’s Team of the Month post, there are some long races during the summer that climbers who can time trial might do well in. Great things should be expected of the young rider from Varsseveld.