Giro podium finisher De Gendt to head ambitious Vacansoleil team in Tour Down Under
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Giro podium finisher De Gendt to head ambitious Vacansoleil team in Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 6:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Aggressive Belgian likely to stir up the action in next month’s WorldTour race

Thomas de GendtHaving been one of the most aggressive early-season riders in recent years, Thomas de Gendt will once again animate the roads of South Australia with confirmation that he will target the Santos Tour Down Under for the third consecutive year in 2013.

The Belgian will head the Vacansoleil DCM team in the race, which begins in just over a month’s time in Adelaide. He was second on a stage in 2011 and then last January placed second overall in the King of the Mountains classification.

“It will be the third year in a row for me to race over there and that shows that I like it,” he said. “Like every year the shape (my form) is always a surprise in the first race but it should be good to kick off the season with someone of the team in front.”

The 26 year old enjoy best-ever year in 2012, winning a stage in Paris-Nice, grabbing the prestigious Stevio stage at the Giro d’Italia and netting a superb third overall in the race.

Now, after getting married and returning from an off-season break, he’s psyched to aim for bigger results. “I feel like training again and one of my goals is to peak more and more,” he said. “After 2012 I will have a challenge to be a leader in a mental way at certain moments during the season where others have to count on me.”

Santos Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur was impressed by what the Belgian achieved in 2012 and knows that his trajectory is an upwards one.

“The Giro d’Italia challenges every rider and De Gendt really came into his own on the penultimate stage at the Stelvio Pass,” he said. “Couple that with a win on stage seven of Paris-Nice and you have a rider on the rise who will be keen to dominate in 2013.”

He will be joined by Dutchmen Kenny Van Hummel, Wesley Kreder and Barry Markus, Spain’s Rafael Valls Ferri and the Pole Thomasz Marczynski in the race, with the final team member yet to be confirmed.

Jean-Paul Van Poppel will manage the team and lays out the goals for his squad. “We are aiming for a good overall general classification with any number of our riders,” he said, making clear that there is more than one contender. “De Gendt, Marczynski or Valls all have the ability to make an impact on the race.”

The WorldTour race will begin on January 22nd, but will be preceded two days earlier by a 51 kilometre circuit race in Adelaide, the People’s Choice Classic.

Vacansoleil-DCM team for the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under:

Thomas De Gendt (BEL)
Kenny Van Hummel (NED)
Barry Markus (NED)
Rafael Valls Ferri (ESP)
Tomasz Marczynski (POL)
Wesley Kreder (NED)

(One more rider to be confirmed)


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