Breukink: ‘Gesink will be back for classics’

The team is cautiously optimistic that Gesink can be back at full strength in time for the Tour

Roberto Gesink is well on the road to recovery from his broken leg and Rabobank brass believe the skinny Dutchman will be flying at full speed in time for the Ardennes classics.

The Rabobank star suffered a broken leg during a crash in a mid-September training ride. There were some initial worries that the injury could seriously set his career back, but Gesink has bounced back better than expected.

Rabobank sport director Erik Breukink told that Gesink is expecting to be back at full strength in time for the Tour de France, with an early season goal of performing well in the Ardennes classics.

“His training has been good. There haven’t been any problems,” Breukink said “He’s missing the racing. We won’t really know how he’s doing until he’s back in the race.”

Gesink will make his season debut at the Ruta del Sol later this month in Spain and then make a big push through the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco, where he was third overall last year, before rolling into the Ardennes classics.

“Robert’s motivated to return,” Breukink said. “He’s going to take it easy in the first part of the season, but build to be ready for the classics.”

Gesink’s 2011 season was a mix of highs and lows. Early in the year, he notched some encouraging results, with the overall victory and a time trial win at the Tour of Oman. He was second behind eventual Tour winner Cadel Evans at Tirreno-Adriatico and third at the Basque Country tour behind the RadioShack tandem of Andreas Kloden and Chris Horner.

His Tour hopes came crashing down with a crash in the first week that left him with back pain that knocked him off his hopes of bettering his sixth place overall the year before.

Gesink then returned again to top form with second at the GP Quebec in early September just days before his training crash that left him with a serious fracture in his leg.

Breukink said the team is cautiously optimistic that Gesink can be back at full strength in time for the Tour.

“We hope he can be back,” he said. “He’s still young, 26 this year, so he can overcome this and continue to develop as a grand tour rider. We are optimistic.”