Thomas De Gendt to lead Vacansoleil-DCM to la Vuelta a España
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Thomas De Gendt to lead Vacansoleil-DCM to la Vuelta a España

by Ben Atkins at 12:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Giro d’Italia podium-finisher aiming for stage win; staying cool about overall chances

thomas de gendtThomas De Gendt will lead Vacansoleil-DCM to the Vuelta a España, which starts with a 16.5km team time trial in the Navarre city of Pamplona on Saturday, August 18th. The 25-year-old Belgian took third place in May’s Giro d’Italia - as well as taking the prestigious stage to the top of the Passo dello Stelvio - and so is expected to do well in Spain, but is refusing to predict a repeat performance at this stage.

De Gendt rode last week’s Eneco Tour, in the Netherlands and Belgium, although his biggest result was 19th in the penultimate day’s time trial, and he didn’t finish the final stage.

“I’m going for a stage win and want to keep cool about my chances in the general classification as long as possible,” he said. "I rode the Eneco Tour purely to prepare and I was not tempted to jump with the main peloton.

“It is useless to set a specific target for the Vuelta classification,” he added. “I'll do my best from the beginning, and try not to lose too much time. After a week or two we will consider what the goal will be for the remaining stages."

Unlike the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, which both took a long time to reach any major climbs this year, the 2012 Vuelta has its first mountain stage as early as day three, with a 1st category summit finish at Eibar, just after the Alto de Arrate. This should create some sort of order in the general classification early, from where De Gendt - and the rest of the favourites - can plan the rest of their races.

“We're going to the Vuelta in the same way as the Giro," said Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Daan Luijkx, “where we rode very offensively.

“The classification will probably take shape quickly and that should settle the peloton,” he explained. “Breakaway’s will also be more likely to succeed; we have a team of who should benefit.

“Regarding the general classification I think [we should get] a top ten ranking,” he added, “and we also have riders who can ride into the top twenty.”

Alongside Belgian De Gendt, the Vacansoleil-DCM team will be a largely Dutch affair, with five of the nine riders coming from the team’s home country, including former national champion Pim Ligthart, and Grand Tour debutants Wouter Mol and Bert-Jan Lindeman. Rafa Valls, the one Spanish rider in the team’s 32-strong roster, gets to ride his home Tour.

Vacansoleil-DCM team for la Vuelta a España
Thomas De Gendt, Martijn Keizer. Sergey Lagutin, Pim Ligthart, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Tomasz Marczynski, Wouter Mol, Rob Ruijgh and Rafael Valls


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