Giro d’Italia: De Gendt unsure whether to be happy or try for better
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giro d’Italia: De Gendt unsure whether to be happy or try for better

by Kyle Moore at 5:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Belgian attacker sits 12th overall heading into final week

Thomas de GendtThomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), a slashing attacker who sees himself in the mold of Jens Voigt, finds himself in 12th place overall heading into the final week of the Giro d’Italia. The Belgian admits that his current position is better than he thought it would be before the race started.

Riding in just his second career Grand Tour, after the Tour de France last year, De Gendt’s hesitation is understandable. He came good at the end of the Grand Boucle last season, when he was fifth to the top of the Alpe d’Huez stage, which he followed up immediately with a third place in the final time trial.

But the breakaway artist finished just 62nd overall in his debut Grand Tour, so such a high placing in Italy has the Belgian wondering about what should come next.

In unfamiliar territory, De Gendt sounded unsure about either trying to maintain his current position or trying to build on it in the mountains of the final week.

“Two weeks ago, I did not think I would be in this position,” De Gendt said on the rest day. “Rather I thought I would be 25th or so. But now I’m 12th in the Giro, so do I try to maintain that classification or do I see if I can improve. The team puts no pressure on me, so in that there is nothing. If every day I know my place, and maintain it, that would be fantastic. I will consider it day to day.”

De Gendt fought through a flat tire on Sunday’s summit finish.

“I had such good legs. I rode very easily and my heart rate was pretty low,” the Belgian said after that stage. “At about 2500 meters from the finish my tire was leaking. Within five meters of the line, it was perfectly flat. I was afraid that the neutral car repair would be too long and our team car could not get through. On the straights it was still pretty good, but in the turns I lost a lot of time.”

Vacansoleil-DCM director Jean Paul Van Poppel has high hopes for his rider heading into the final week. He believes De Gendt has the capabilities to hold tight to his position.

“He is riding as I had hoped,” remarked Van Poppel. “The finals in the Giro are often chaotic, but he hasn’t lost any time. Thomas doesn’t know what he can do, but after Sunday, I am confident that he can go far.”

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