De Gendt aiming to end a tough year on a high note with Tour of Beijing mountains jersey
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Saturday, October 12, 2013

De Gendt aiming to end a tough year on a high note with Tour of Beijing mountains jersey

by Shane Stokes at 11:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Beijing
 
Belgian rider strongest in stage two primes

Thomas de GendtScrabbling for a contract until he was handed a lifeline by the Omega Pharma Quick Step team just over a week ago, Thomas De Gendt is working hard to try to end his year on a high note. The Vacansoleil DCM rider attacked as part of a five man group on today’s second stage of the Tour of Beijing, and finished the day with a healthy lead in the King of the Mountains competition.

He’s determined to try to hold onto that, handing his team a good farewell gift as it heads into its final weeks in the peloton.

“It’s been a tough year for us and now it’s our last stage race so we want to give it our best and hopefully we can still win a stage or keep a jersey,” De Gendt said at the finish.

“From the beginning I knew it was very hard to beat the sprinters’ teams so my main objective was to get the mountains jersey.”

There were a total of four climbs on today’s route and De Gendt was first to the top of three of them. He beat Chad Beyer (Champion System) on the category three climb of He Fang Kou Tunnel, then won the prime ahead of him at the unnamed category two mountain at kilometre 29.

De Gendt and Beyer were again first and second at the identically-ranked ascent of Cang Mi Gu Dao.

Fellow breakaway compantions Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Maxime Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale) then clipped away prior to the final second category Yan Shan Tian Chi, netting first and second there. De Gendt and Beyer were third and fourth, further adding to their totals.

“He [Beyer] asked me if he could have the one second at the intermediate sprint and I said no problem. He gave me the points on the last climb, so we still like each other,” De Gendt smiled.

He has now amassed a total of 25 points, eight more than Beyer and nine more than Kaisen.

De Gendt has had a very quiet season, clocking up fewer points than he has done since turning professional.

Still, he has taken a stream of important results in the past, including victory on the Stelvio stage plus third overall in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, as well as stages in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Wallonie.

The days ahead will tell if he is indeed heading back to that kind of form; if so, final victory in the King of the Mountains classification in the Tour of Beijing could well be on the cards.

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