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Rabobank training in the Pyrenees: Robert Gesink - I'm the only leader of the team

Added: wednesday 18 May 2011 at 01:11:00
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    Rabobank training in the Pyrenees: Robert Gesink - I'm the only leader of the teamThis weekend the Dutch Rabobank team spent four days training in the Pyrenees, in order to prepare the Tour de France 2011. They stayed in Hotel Eden Park in Pau where the Dutch manager Rogier Schilperoord took care of them.

    Directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen and leader Robert Gesink explain what this training looked like while Juan Manuel Garate explains his role in the team.

    Adri van Houwelingen: several riders are potential participants in the Tour

    Adri van Houwelingen, directeur sportif with the Rabobank team and present during this training in order to accompany the riders, explains who was there and what their chances are to participate in the Tour de France this year.

    Which riders participated in this training weekend? Are these riders all sure to participate in the Tour?
    We came here with 5 riders and several of them might be part of our team in the Tour: Robert Gesink, Luis Léon Sanchez, Juan Manuel Garate, Carlos Barredo and Bauke Mollema.

    It will all depend on how they will progress during the season since we want to take the start of the Tour de France with a team with riders who are in good shape. We have some riders who currently participate in the Giro d'Italia but are not yet 100%, so several riders still have a chance to participate in the Tour. A rider like Matti Breschel will make his comeback to competition after his knee problems in the Tour of Belgium and in the Tour of Switzerland and he's definitely also one of the riders who might get his chance in the Tour.

    How does this training look like? Which (parts of) stages have been done and in which order?
    Friday we've done the stage Pau > Lourdes with the Col d'Aubisque and the Col de Soulor. The weather conditions were not very good with cold and rain and especially in the descents we really had to be very careful. I think this will be one of the easiest of the Pyrenees stages.

    Luz ArdidenSaturday was not quite that easy. We had similar weather conditions and we went over the Col de la Hourquette d'Ancizan (1564m), the Col du Tourmalet (2115m) and finally went up to Luz Ardiden (1700m). A real Pyrenean stage where the riders who target for a good general classification have to show upfront in order not to lose any time. Just like the ride we did on Monday when we went to see the Saint Gaudens to Plateau de Beille stage. The different climbs following up each other, even though they're not as hard as for example the Tourmalet or the Aubisque (the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, Col de la Core, Col de Latrape, Col d'Agnes, Port de Lers and the finish on the Plateau de Beille) make this stage a very difficult one. This is another stage where we must make sure not to lose any time with the Alps still coming up.

    Are there any specific things you pay attention to during such a training?
    We especially look to the parcours and we're here in Pau really to discover the different stage routes. We don't really look at anything specific concerning the riders, even though we do look at whether they're in shape as expected. We don't really change anything on the bikes anymore either, they are now perfectly configured. Vincent Hendriks (mecanic) is with us especially in case something happens with the material or to replace some spare parts.

    Who are part of this stay in Pau in addition to the riders?
    Next to Vincent we also have our masseur Bixente Iza and a new mecanic: Rik Jonkheijm.

    You're staying in the Hotel Eden Park in Pau (which will soon get 4 stars) with the Dutch hotel manager Rogier Schilperoord. How was your stay here?
    We know Rogier since a few years already and he always receives us as if we were friends from long time ago. It almost feels like coming home and that's important for training like this one. Everything is always perfectly well organised and we know the hotel staff will do everything they can to make our stay as pleasant as possible.

    Do you plan to do a training in the Alps as well?
    After the Dauphiné Libéré we'll go discover the stages in the Alps from where we will continue to the Tour of Switzerland and we finish it all of with an high altitude training in Switzerland. Once we've done that we must be ready for the Tour de France.

    Robert Gesink: Sanchez is really top notch

    Robert Gesink will be the leader of the Rabobank team in the Tour de France 2011 for the first time. He explains why and how he's working towards the Tour.

    Robert GesinkWhich role will you have in the Tour? How will the roles be divided between you and Sanchez for example?
    The idea is for me to be the only leader of the team and that the other riders will give 100% of what they have to get me in the highest position as possible in the general classification of the Tour. Sanchez is really top notch, a rider with experience and knowing lots about race tactics and strategy. He'll now have to share this and put this to the benefit of the team. If however he gets one or more chances to win a stage, we'll definitely not let go of that either.

    You were a bit disappointed about your results in the spring classics which you said to be an important goal. The Tour de France is your most important goal this year. How's your current condition at about 50 days before the start of the Tour?
    I'm in pretty good shape since the start of the season and I'm finally quite happy with my results in the spring classics. I didn't get any podium places but I was always among the first.
    I'm still growing but I feel the base is broader this year than last year. I can't say that I'll be able to improve last year's results, you'll always have to see how things develop, but I made a lot of progress, especially in my time trials as I showed for example in the Tour of Oman.
    (where he won the 18 kilometer long time trial in the mountains)

    How do you further prepare the Tour? What does your programme look like (races, training, ...)?
    After this weekend in Pau we go on to the Sierra Nevada in Spain for some high altitude training. I'll then participate in the Dauphiné Libéré and I'll end up with another high altitude training in Switzerland. And than I have to be ready for it!

    Juan Manuel Garate: capitaine de route

    Juan Manuel GarateCan you describe what your current role is in the team?
    I'm no longer in the phase of my career where I can go for stage wins. I thus now have a role as capitaine de route and I'm here to help the team leaders. I also contribute to the training of the younger riders, including those of the Rabobank Continental Team.

    Last year I also helped with the transfer of Luis Léon Sanchez. The fact that we speak the same language of course helps a lot, but I was also able to explain the team what profile he has and how he fits in our team.

    Currently these riders are thus in the Sierra Nevada in Spain at 2300 meters altitude!

    The photos

    Hereunder you can find a few photos which were taken during this 4 day training weekend in and around Pau. Click on the photos to open them:
    Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank Trainingsstage Rabobank

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    > 2 comments | shown 4515x

    this article appears in the following categories: Tour de France| Tour de France 2011 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 2 comments!
  1. mm

    | Maarten Both | monday 23 May 2011 at 20:52:26

  2. j'aime bien votre blog,vive la petite reine!

    | muondo | thursday 02 June 2011 at 17:57:35

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