Robert Gesink says he once thought about doping, ‘but never got very close’ 

The Jumbo-Visma rider has reflected on his career in an interview with Dutch media 

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Robert Gesink has said he once thought about doping, but didn’t come very close to taking performance enhancing drugs.

The Dutchman, now a trusted domestique for Jumbo-Visma, was once a serious Grand Tour contender but has since settled into his support role. 

In an interview with Dutch media Gesink, who joined the peloton in 2005, said doping was more common when he turned pro and that many riders felt it was part of becoming a good rider.  

The 34-year-old told (opens in new tab) AD: “It would have been great if I’d achieve more, but I’m proud of what I have done. 

“I think certainly at the start of my career I made choices that others made differently.” 

When asked if he was referring to doping, Gesink said: “Yes, when I became a pro it was a lot more common than it is now.”

He was also asked if he had ever considered doping, to which he responded: “I’ve thought about it once, but it never got very close.

It was part of the sport that you sometimes thought: if I really want to become that good, then that is part of it. But luckily I had the right people around me.”

Gesink has spent his entire career with Dutch outfit Jumbo, formerly Rabobank. 

He has finished in the top-10 of five Grand Tours, including fifth in the 2010 Tour de France and sixth in the 2012 Vuelta. 

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But after collecting a handful of victories, including the overall in the Tour of California and a stage of the 2016 Vuelta, Gesink has since become a valued domestique in the Jumbo team, riding in support of Primož Roglič during both of his Vuelta victories. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.