It wasn’t Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) or Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) or even Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) who won on the slopes of Jabal al Akhdhar.
In point of fact, dad won. It was RObert Gesink (Rabobank) who dedicated his victory in the queen stage of the Tour of Oman to his father.
Gesinks’ father died last October after a bike accident and the Dutchman has been training hard ever since to honor him. “I did it for my dad,” he said. A beautiful win and an extremely emotional one.
“I was afraid to think about him too much because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to continue and finish the way I did. After the finish I remembered him,” he said proudly.
Sky’s Boasson Hagen put in a brutally tough surge to limit his loses. He was seen weaving his bike back and forth across the road like an exhausted middle age man. The Norwegian is 44 second behind the in the overall with the final 18.5 kilometer time trial Saturday.
CHristian Vande Velde also rode a strong, intelligent race, staying with the front group chasing Gesink until the finish. He’s barely a minute over with a real shot at the podium.
“I was happy with how I responded on the climb. It was horrible but I’m very happy. It was a positive day for me,” said Vande Velde.
“I was over-geared and so I was barely moving in the last 400 meters. I could have done with some more gears.” Who doesn’t want more gears? Talk to the UCI spec guys and see how many more is legal.
The surprise of the day in the Big O was Quick Step’s Dries Devenyns — he was third on the stage and in third overall. Vande Velde called him “that Quick Step guy.” Plenty of bike races were wondering who this guy is, Twisted Spoke included.
It’s a somewhat hilly time trial and could be just the place for American Vande Velde to shine. Besides, Jonathan Vaughters’ goal of a number one team ranking is still one track. Time for another Garmin-Cervelo rider to deliver the goods and it looks like Vande Velde is up.
But today’s climb up the Green Mountain was a special one for Robert Gesink. It’s was Father’s Day and he knew just how to celebrate.