Robert Gesink (Belkin) will miss this summer’s Tour de France as he continues to recover from surgery to correct a heart problem that plagued him for years.
According to a team release, Gesink is not yet ready to take on a grueling race such as the Tour.
“I was very happy to have put this insecure period behind me,” Gesink said. “I’ve worked on my recovery with full confidence. Participating in the Tour de France was a possibility, but the reality is that the periods before and after the surgery were extremely tough. It wouldn’t be wise to prepare myself for the most important race of the year in a forced way. To start in the Tour de France you have to be in top form, and I’m not fully confident that I am at this point.”
Gesink has started every Tour de France since 2009, withdrawing from two of them (2009, 2012) because of injuries. He finished fifth in 2010 and last year he placed 26th.
The 28-year-old had suffered from a cardiac arrhythmia for years, but became more concerned about it last year. This season, he skipped the Amstel Gold Race in April after pulling out of both Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) because of the condition, which caused an irregular heartbeat under the stress of bike racing.
Belkin announced in early May that Gesink underwent successful surgery to treat the problem.
In lieu of the Tour, Gesink said he will race the Ster ZLM Toer later this month, followed by the Dutch national championships, the Tour of Poland, and the Vuelta a Espana.