Road

Robert Gesink recovering from broken femur, eyes 2012 Giro d’Italia as Tour de France preparation

Robert Gesink says the road back to the Tour de France will likely go through the Giro d'Italia next season.

Robert Gesink hopes to use the 2012 Giro as a stepping stone to the Tour de France. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Robert Gesink says the road back to the Tour de France will likely go through the Giro d’Italia next season.

The Dutch star is recovering from a broken right femur suffered in late September and said that getting a three-week grand tour into his legs ahead of July will be the best preparation for next year’s Tour.

“Next year I would like to race the Giro as preparation for the Tour,” the 25-year-old Rabobank rider told the Dutch daily De Telegraaf. “I don’t know if I will be able to be ready for the spring classics. If I do manage to race the Giro, it will not be to challenge for the overall, but rather to continue my build my strength going into the Tour. That sounds like a nice new challenge.”

Gesink broke his femur in three places in a crash that left him in a hospital bed for three weeks. Doctors are optimistic about a full recovery and have since removed pins that were inserted into the leg. He’s already returned to light training, clocking 200km on a mountain bike as he begins the long road back to the top.

“I have to start from zero to regain my strength,” he continued. “I’ve been training two and a half hours on the mountain bike and the muscles have responded well. My tendons were not affected. I have a long way to go before I can have optimum power out of this leg, but at least it’s becoming better, so that gives me some tranquility.”

Gesink enjoyed a strong spring campaign early in 2011, winning the Tour of Oman and taking second at Tirreno-Adriatico behind Cadel Evans, but crashed hard on his back at the Tour to finish a distant 33rd.

Gesink looked to be back in top form going into the fall classics, riding to second in the GP Cycliste de Montreal before his training crash in September.