De Gendt secures polka dot jersey in Catalunya
It became a fantastic 99th edition of Volta a Catalunya for the Lotto Soudal rider.
Thomas De Gendt secured his polka dot jersey in the closing stage of Paris-Nice today. The Lotto Soudal rider took some additional points on the first two ascents of the day and that way, he was sure of winning the mountain classification. It is the third polka dot jersey that the Lotto Soudal rider gets to take home in the Race to the Sun after earlier ones in 2015 and 2018. Ion Izagirre won the final stage while Egan Bernal held on to his yellow jersey.
De Gendt started the short but action-packed stage with an advantage of 21 points over his main rival De Marchi. Almost immediately after the start, the roads started to rise as the riders had to conquer six climbs in the area of Nice. De Gendt was first to cross the Côte de Levens, the first climb of the day. The Lotto Soudal rider earned another five points atop the second hill and as De Marchi gave up the fight, De Gendt could secure his third Paris-Nice polka dot jersey only moments later.
Thomas De Gendt: “I only had to keep an eye on one rider today, which made the race a bit easier. Still, De Marchi was part of the big front group but eventually, he did not really battle anymore. It became a sprint towards the foot of the first climb, which I started in a good position. Then, I still had six kilometres to move up, so I did. When I took the seven points there, I knew that a lot would have to happen to let it slip through my fingers.”
“I would have liked to battle for the stage win, but my legs felt - especially after yesterday’s stage - quite heavy. My mental finish line was at the top of the third climb today. The fourth ascent is just a little too hard for me. Then, I decided to recover as much as possible towards the many other races I will take part in. I think that it was a good Paris-Nice for Lotto Soudal, but we could have won three stages as well. My next race will be the Volta a Catalunya, where the stages should suit me even a little more. But first, some time for recovery.”