De Gendt holding back on peak form until Tour de France
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

De Gendt holding back on peak form until Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 9:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
Catalunya win marks first victory of the season for Vacansoleil DCM team

Thomas De GendtAlthough he was best on the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya, Thomas De Gendt has said that he expects it to be several months before he hits peak form. The Belgian Vacansoleil DCM rider is targeting the Tour de France after missing the race last year, deciding to get married rather than taking part.

Because his target is later in the year, he expects to build on his Volta a Catalunya form and to hit a higher standard of fitness by July.

“I’m still not at the top level that I had in the Giro last year,” he told Sporza. “There is more to come, which I will save for the Tour. In the Basque country (the upcoming Vuelta al Pais Vasco) and California we will test our team. Hopefully everything is on course for July.”

De Gendt made a breakthrough last year when he won the Stelvio stage and finished third overall in the Giro d’Italia. His strong conclusion to the race both earned him that podium slot and also gave him increased ambition for the Grand Tours.

His victory on Sunday came out of a four man break which finished 21 seconds ahead of a chasing group which contained all the race favourites. He bided his time in waiting for the sprint, allowing David Lopez to drain his strength with a late attack, then outsprinting the Sky rider, Robert Kiserlowski (RadioShack Leopard) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) to the line.

He said that he initially felt rough but that his ambition and expectation increased as the race progressed. “On Sunday I initially didn’t have good legs, but with each lap [of the finishing circuit – ed.] I felt better. I jumped into the leading group.

“I felt like the strongest and the fastest. Such a small group suits me, though. It was not the fastest riders in the peloton who were with me, so things fell into place perfectly.”

The success was actually the first victory of the season for his Vacansoleil DCM team. Breaking the ice is important for the team and they hope will bring more results in the weeks ahead.

“That zero was already far too long listed after the name of Vacansoleil, but the tide is turning,” De Gendt said.


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