De Gendt signs one year deal with Omega Pharma Quick Step
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Friday, October 04, 2013

De Gendt signs one year deal with Omega Pharma Quick Step

by VeloNation Press at 10:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Lifeline for 2012 third-placed Giro finisher after Vacansoleil DCM stops

Thomas De GendtFollowing considerable uncertainty about where he would race next year plus the stress of being left without a squad after his Vacansoleil DCM team folded, 2012 Giro d’Italia podium finisher Thomas De Gendt has inked a deal with the Omega Pharma Quick Step team.

It was previously thought that the squad would sign either the Belgian or compatriot Jan Bakelants. When the latter was announced as having been brought on board last Saturday, it looked questionable if De Gendt would get a ride there.

However the Belgian team has today announced that he will indeed form part of the setup next year, a development that the rider is enthusiastic about.

“I’m very happy to become a part of this group,” the 26 year old said. “I’ve always dreamed of being a part of a something like this, ever since Tom Boonen won the World Cup in Madrid in 2005. OPQS is one of the top teams, very professional in all aspects and with absolutely competent people in every sector. For a rider this is very important, like it’s important to feel the faith of Patrick Lefevere.”

Lefevere recognises what De Gendt has achieved in the past, not least his third overall in last year’s Giro d’Italia plus his victory on the Stelvio Pass.

He’s also taken stages in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Wallonie. While 2013 has been his quietest season since turning pro in 2009, his ability is in little doubt.

“We’ve been following Thomas with considerable interest for some years now,” said Lefevere. “Our paths almost crossed a few times these past couple of years but due to a series of choices and contingent situations, the deal never came through. Now the time has come; we were sort of reciprocally destined to meet again sooner or later.

“We believe Thomas is talented. We’ve been following his sports history. An athlete who can win a stage at Paris-Nice, one at the Tour de Suisse, the reigning stage in the Giro and even take third place in the race for the pink jersey definitely cannot have lost all his skills in just a few months.

One issue that De Gendt may well have been affected by is the uncertainty about his Vacansoleil DCM team this year. Both of those sponsors stopped backing the squad, ramping up the stress levels of all concerned.

Lefevere believes he’ll battle back, and has given him a season to prove his value.

“We’re certain that Thomas has everything it takes to make a return and prove himself as part of our group. We’ve offered him a one-year contract with the conviction that for him, it can be a year of redemption,” he stated.

De Gendt sounds determined to turn things around and to once again start clocking up wins and high placings in the top stage races.

“Right now I don’t want to think about specific goals for the season — there’s plenty of time for that. However, my objective is to get back to the level I was at in 2012,” he vowed. “I’m going to work towards reaching this goal and to redeem the trust the team has placed in me.”
 

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