Robert Gesink coloured the top of the Tour de France’s general classification a little greener today. In the 19th stage, from Le Bourg d’Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, the Belkin Pro Cycling Team rider was part of a big breakaway that was up front from start to finish. He ended up seventh in the stage and climbed to 19th in the overall classification. With Bauke Mollema (sixth) and Laurens ten Dam (11th), Belkin now has three riders in the top twenty.
Tour de France: Quotes following stage 19
“Yesterday went well and today wasn’t bad either. I was able to stay in touch with the first group for quite a long time and I even was able to work for Bauke and Laurens. On the penultimate climb, I had to fold. Of course, my legs feel a bit tired after my efforts in yesterday’s and today’s stages, but I’m still OK. Tomorrow is going to be another hard day but we’re getting closer to Paris!”
Laurens ten Dam
“I felt much better than yesterday. I crashed in the time trial and I don’t like to use that as an excuse, but my back didn’t feel good and in the Alpe d’Huez stage, it was like if I was riding with one leg. I must say our osteopath did a superb job because it felt like I had two legs again today. Unfortunately I lost a spot in the GC, but I’m going to do my best to make it into the top ten again.”
“Right from the start, it was a hard race and I went full-throttle on all the climbs. You always have a chance to win when you’re up front. You have to believe in your chances. I gave everything I had and I was hoping for more, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get in the winning mix. When they attacked on the last climb, I just couldn’t follow.
“For me, this was a very good day. Until the second last climb, I was able to stay with Bauke and Laurens. It felt good to be of value for so long in a mountain stage. At the start, I was a little nervous because this was one of the toughest stages of the Tour but it turned out there was no need to be that way.”
“It was a tough day. The last few days I had very little energy but today I felt much better. I’m very satisfied with the result. I did not expect still to be sixth overall after this stage. The stage started off easy, which I was happy with because it gave me time to get into my rhythm. I was able to hang on with the favourites until the finish, which made me feel good. I hope the worst is behind me.”
Lars Petter Nordhaug
“At the start, I already felt very well. When I saw Robert taking off with a very large group, I talked to the boys and bridged. It was a tough stage to be in a break, but the fact that I managed to do so, so late in the Tour, gave me a good feeling. I’m glad Bauke and Laurens had a good day, too.”
“I had to work hard to stay in touch with the gruppetto, so I’m not sure what’s going on with my legs. It would be nice to know where they’ve gone! At the beginning of the week, I felt really good. It sucks because I’d hoped to help the boys. Today, I tried but I wasn’t able to do much.”
“The fact that I’m working for Bauke and Laurens so far this Tour gives me a good feeling. Only on the third climb did I fade back. After that, I just held my own pace to the finish.”
“Halfway through the Madeleine, I started to really suffer and I was dropped not much later. The last obstacle awaits us tomorrow and then we’re in Paris. I’ve come so far now so I’m going to make it, not matter what.”
“I didn’t expect this. Yesterday, Bauke wasn’t looking good and he still looked a little tired this morning, but during the race, he was able to stay in touch with the best five riders of the Tour. Bauke has shown character all Tour but today’s performance was phenomenal.”