De Gendt aims for aggressive showing in Santos Tour Down Under
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

De Gendt aims for aggressive showing in Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 6:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Belgian will be one of Vacansoleil-DCM’s confirmed leaders in Australian race

Thomas De GendtHaving shown superb early season form this season, animating many of the first races as well as winning a stage and leading Paris-Nice, Thomas De Gendt is determined to ride strongly in 2012 Santos Tour Down Under. The 25 year old Belgian has been confirmed as one of the protected riders on the team, with the sprinter Romain Feillu also gunning for a big result.

“I asked to start my season again at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide,” De Gendt confirmed. “The team gave me confidence in 2011 and I managed to perform for a big part of the season on which starting the year at the Santos Tour Down Under contributed. At this year's race I was close to a WorldTour stage win which I eventually took in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Switzerland.

“My objective for the race in 2012 is to get a good stage result which will bring me towards the top of the GC too if I don't lose time at the other stages. The beautiful weather and it being the first race of the season gives extra motivation.”

The team confirmed its roster for the race overnight, with De Gendt and Feillu being joined by the sprinter Kenny van Hummel, Italians Marcello Pavarin and Mirko Selvaggi, Dutchman Wouter Mol and Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan).

The squad is known for being an attacking team, and team manager Michel Cornelisse said that it plans to be prominent again next month.

“For us it is important to perform well at the beginning of the season, like we did at the Santos Tour Down Under in 2011. We will bring a strong and highly motivated team for a new edition of the Santos Tour Down Under,” he said. “Last year we saw our sprinter Romain Feillu in several top fives and Thomas De Gendt finishing second on the hardest stage of the race.

“De Gent and Feillu will be back again and we will come to Australia with two objectives. One is to work on our sprints with Feillu and Dutchman van Hummel who both will be led out by the other guys. Secondly we aim to start the season with a great first race. The indicators for a great race can differ and have to be decided based on opportunities but the crowd and weather will also contribute.”

The team clocked up 25 wins in 2011, including eight by Feillu. These included three consecutive stages in the Tour of the Mediterranean. De Gendt’s successes were stage wins in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse and the Circuit de Lorraine.

His aggressive Santos Tour Down Under showing saw him net second behind eventual race winner Cameron Meyer on stage four to Strathalbyn. That near-miss will have whetted his appetite for the 2012 version, where he’ll aim for a big showing.

Vacansoleil-DCM team for Santos Tour Down Under (January 15 – 22):

Kenny van Hummel (NED)
Romain Feillu (FRA)
Thomas De Gendt (BEL)
Marcello Pavarin (ITA)
Mirko Selvaggi (ITA)
Wouter Mol (NED)
Sergey Lagutin (UZB)


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