Thomas De Gendt previews the Giro
The Lotto Soudal rider starts his first of three Grand Tours this season.
Thomas De Gendt splendidly secured his lead in the KOM classification during the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya today. With a stage win, three days in the leader’s jersey and the polka dot jersey, the 99th edition of the Volta a Catalunya became an unforgettable one for the Lotto Soudal rider. Davide Formolo - part of the early break - took the final victory in Barcelona. After a thrilling battle on the slopes of Montjuïc, GC leader Miguel Ángel López did not let the overall victory slip through his fingers.
The Volta a Catalunya was traditionally closed by a stage on a city course in Barcelona, with the famed Montjuïc hill as the decisive climb. Once again, Thomas De Gendt did not miss out on the breakaway as he escaped the peloton together with ten other riders. On the first climb of the day, De Gendt immediately took another three KOM points and also during the local laps in Barcelona, he managed to collect some more. That way, he secured his second Volta a Catalunya KOM classification and added another jersey to his already impressive collection.
Thomas De Gendt: “The plan was to be part of the breakaway today, not only to secure the KOM jersey, but also to go for the stage win. Eventually, the winner – Davide Formolo – was in the break, so it seemed like the right tactics. But unfortunately, I did not have the legs anymore to join Formolo. I knew that I had to take the points on the first three climbs of the day to be sure of the mountains classification. Right after, Formolo attacked, but I just couldn’t respond anymore. After a tough week in Catalunya and also a hard Paris-Nice, the tank was a little empty today.”
“Of course, I am very satisfied with the Volta a Catalunya I rode. Especially the stage win was very nice and it gave me a great feeling to already add a win to my name. The polka dot jersey on top is a nice bonus. Of course, I wanted to hold on to the leader’s jersey as long as possible but a nice spot on GC was never within reach because I know really well what I am capable of on the climbs. I rode in a leader’s jersey during six out of the seven days, so I can say it was a successful week of racing. After a long training camp in Calpe, the Tour de Romandie will be my next race.”
The 81st edition of Gent-Wevelgem was a real elimination race, but after over 250 kilometres of racing, a reduced group sprinted for victory. It was Alexander Kristoff who proved to be the fastest today, the Norwegian rider beat John Degenkolb and Oliver Naesen. Tiesj Benoot and Jens Keukeleire were part of the first group but did not manage to take a top ten result.
I knew that I had to take the points on the first three climbs of the day to be sure of the mountains classification.