Robert Gesink put his cycling future on hold due to a heart condition, according to Dutch media. The Dutchman of team Belkin was due to race his home classic, the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday.
Gesink, 27, explained during a press conference on Tuesday evening that he suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. Although cardiologists showed they are not a threat, they had led to him to episodes of hyperventilation and stress, and he will now undergo a medical procedure to try and rectify the problem. He intends to return to competition as soon as possible.
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Gesink placed fifth in the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador’s ban. His problems, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, began a few months after his father died at the end of that season. He found that after an intense workout his heart rate would no longer decrease.
He had a problem again at the 2011 national championship. Medical tests the next day, though, showed no abnormalities. At the Giro d’Italia last year, it caused him problems, but tests again cleared him.
The problems appeared behind him. Last year, he helped his team-mate Bauke Mollema place sixth overall in the Tour de France. He won the GP Quebec in September. This year, he placed sixth in the Tour Down Under and fifth in the Tour of Oman behind Chris Froome. However, he continued to suffer.
He abandoned the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race with a urinary tract problem and in the Tour of the Basque Country, his heart problem returned. According to De Telegraaf, Gesink and the Dutch team now want the issue in the open and want to try to find a solution with its full support.
Gesink was due to race the Ardennes Classics, the Tour of California and the Tour de France. With his recent DNFs and uncertainty about his heart, his plans could change.