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"In Portugal, I had a pretty good feeling. With Le Samyn, the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, and another training camp, I will be ready for my first goal: the Volta a Catalunya," De Gendt says

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

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06.03.2014 @ 11:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) showed that he may return to his best after a disastrous 2014 season when he rode a very aggressive Le Samyn yesterday. The Belgian no longer has any injury problems and feels that the change to a bigger team with less freedom will allow him to improve.

 

When he finished 3rd in the 2012 Giro d'Italia, Thomas De Gendt was hailed as the next big Belgian cyclist. Instead of continuing his rise towards the stars, he had a disastrous 2013 season where a knee injury was part of the reason for his lack of results.

 

When Vacansoleil folded, De Gendt was even struggling to find a new team but by acception a 80% pay cut he got a chance with Omega Pharma-Quick Step. After working hard for Michal Kwiatkowski in the Volta ao Algarve, he returned to the kind of aggressive racing he had shown when he won stages in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse, and Volta a Catalunya, animating the finale of yesterday's Le Samyn.

 

De Gendt was one of the few riders to miss out when his team split the peloton on Cote de la Roquette but when that move was brought back, he took off with Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r). The duo stayed away until the start of the final lap and even though he didn't take a result, the signs were promising.

 

"The difference compared to Vacansoleil is pretty big," he told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Not that it was not good at my previous team but now I play at a higher level. The guidance, the organization, the pre-race talks... Everything is just a little bit better.

 

De Gendt no longer has carte blanche to do his own things as he had at Vacansoleil.

 

"Whether I needed it? If you get clear instuctions, you know what your goals are.

 

"In the past few years, I was a free bird and everything was fantastic. But maybe I was allowed to be a bit too free during my final season? I do not always get to do what I want and I like that too. To a certain extent.

 

"In Portugal, I had a pretty good feeling. With Le Samyn, the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, and another training camp, I will be ready for my first goal: the Volta a Catalunya.

 

"[My goal is] to perform well. If the team asks me to work for a teammate, it will be difficult to get a chance to ride for myself. But if it works, I can still show that I am good. Whoever was in Algarve will have realized that.

 

"I can now ride without any pain and have no problems with my knee. Hopefully, it stays that way. Luckily, I have had seen almost no rain or cold this winter."

 

De Gendt will start the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday.

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