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Robert shines on Col de Soudet

Robert shines on Col de Soudet

Robert advertised his current good form Tuesday during the stage 10 finish in La Pierre Saint Martin, attacking the select lead group on the early slopes of the 15km final climb up Col de Soudet and eventually finishing fourth on the stage.

Gesink, who injured his knee in training earlier this year, moved from 15th overall at the start of the day to eighth by the end of the stage.

“I’m exhausted but happy,” Robert said of his stage 10 performance. “I saw people getting dropped but felt good myself and decided to be crazy and give it a go. We didn’t discuss anything, but I knew that when the big men began accelerating, they would go too fast for me. I anticipated and it worked out well today.”

Movistar led the peloton into the climb, hoping to set up team leader Nairo Quintana, but it was Gesink who jumped away first as word spread that the Movistar pace was starting to take a toll on the lead group.

Team Sky’s Richie Porte eventually pulled Quintana and teammate Chris Froome back onto terms with Gesink before Froome went on to take the stage, with Porte next and Quintana third.

Gesink held on for fourth, but he admitted later that he had thought briefly about the stage win.

“I thought about it for a moment,” he said. “But looking back, I should have done that. I don’t quite realise what has happened. Today I had a super day. I felt strong. I’m happy. I wonder what’s in store for me tomorrow.”

LottoNL-Jumbo coach Merijn Zeeman was ecstatic about Gesink’s result.

“Things didn’t always go as planned for us this year, and Robert has had his share of setbacks as well,” Zeeman said. “It is fantastic what he did today. I’m happy for him. I’m touched now and at a loss for words. This is wonderful to experience. We have to go a long way, though. We’re just getting started now because today was the first mountain stage."

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