After a horror year in 2011 26-year-old Dutchman Robert Gesink is back in the saddle and back in form at just the right time.
An outside tip for general classification honours at last year's Tour, the Rabobank rider disappointed as he finished down in 33rd, with the death of his father earlier in late 2010 casting a shadow over his performance.
Then in September 2011 he broke his leg in four places while training, the injury proving so serious that pins and screws were required to hold the leg together.
But his subsequent rehabilitation has been successful, so much so that Gesink marked his comeback to competitive cycling with overall victory in the Tour of California in May.
"This is amazing," he said after taking sealing that victory. "In January I still had to learn how to walk. Now I’m back."
With over three decades having passed since a Dutchman last won the Tour de France, the 26-year-old from Varsseveld - also, coincidentally, the birthplace of football manager Guus Hiddink - is the latest prodigy to try and follow in the footsteps of the great Joop Zuitemelk.
And despite his injury troubles there is a growing band of supporters who believe he's capable of success in a Grand Tour.
A stage win in the Tour of Belgium back in 2007 announced Gesink's arrival as a professional rider, while another victory at the 2008 Tour of California, a gruelling climb followed by a rapid descent, underlined his talent.
But it has been in the last 18 months since Gesink spent time training at altitude in the Sierra Nevada in which his performances have really caught the eye.
A stage win on the Tour de Suisse in 2010 catapulted him to the top of the general classification, though in the end he had to make do with fifth place overall.
A subsequent sixth-place finish in the 2010 Tour de France, the highest place for a Dutch rider in a decade, further cemented Gesink's future podium credentials - further enhanced by his first place in the 2011 Tour of Oman.
Gesink doesn't have entirely happy memories of the Tour de France, however. In 2009 he fell on Stage 5 and broke his wrist, prematurely ending his Tour, and last year he rode on despite suffering a nasty cut to his elbow.
But in 2012 the man nicknamed the 'Condor of Varsseveld' remains Team Rabobank's great hope for the yellow jersey.
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