• Robert Gesink (C) and teammates during the LottoNL-Jumbo team presentation in Den Bosch on January 8, 2016 (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Finishing sixth in 2015, Robert Gesink will miss this year's Tour de France through injury. The team says it will be on the hunt for stage victories.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
LottoNL Jumbo
23 Jun 2016 - 10:59 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2016 - 1:26 PM

Gesink sustained injuries from a crash at last week's Tour de Suisse including a concussion and his recovery has not gone as expected.  

“I’ve put a lot of energy in my preparations for the Tour de France and I felt strong on Tenerife. It’s a big disappointment that I have to miss the Tour because of this setback,” said Gesink. 

The team will still aim for stage victories and sports director Nico Verhoeven believes he has the riders to do it.  

“We want to win a stage. Wilco Kelderman is able to show off in the mountains and we have some men who are able to finish it off from the breakaway on the days that are too hard for the sprinters," he said. 

Several riders are coming off a hot run of form including Kelderman's eighth place finish at the Tour de Suisse. 

“I’m going to the Tour de France with a lot of confidence,” Kelderman said. "I’ve had a good period of training and most of the days in the Tour de Suisse went well.

"My free role gives me the chance to choose some stages to aim for in the mountains."

 

Classics specialist Sep Vanmarcke won last week's Dutch stage race Ster ZLM Toer while sprinter Dylan Groenewegen came home with the points jersey. 

"(Groenewegen) participates in the Tour de France earlier than expected. That he won quite a lot of races already is extra. It might be a reason for higher expectations but we send him to the Tour for learning," Verhoeven said. 

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Groenewegen also doesn't expect to win a stage but is still motivated. 

"Of course we want to deliver something beautiful in the Tour and when it’s up to me, it’s going to be something very beautiful, but I shouldn’t expect myself to be able to win a stage, immediately," Groenewegen said. 

"There are going to come a lot of chances for the sprinters in the first week, so I will focus on that part of the race. I have to see how it goes, afterwards. It would be nice if I’m able to finish the Tour so I can bring that experience to the upcoming seasons.”

New Zealander George Bennett replaces Gesink and brings his own strong form with seventh overall at the Tour of California and 14th at the star studded Dauphine.