De Gendt hopeful for Paris-Nice start following training ride accident

Lotto Soudal rider recovering from injuries

Thomas De Gendt is looking to make a speedy return to racing after he and teammate Gert Dockx were hit by a car while training in Spain last week. The Lotto Soudal duo were riding side-by-side in Calpe when the vehicle veered into them with De Gendt suffering neck, back, wrist and finger injuries while Dockx sustained leg injuries.

De Gendt provided an update of his injuries to Belgian news service Sporza, explaining that "I just have some pain in my (broken) ring finger and back," De Gendt said. "Today I went to check with the team doctor and any symptoms of concussion are gone." 

The 29-year-old started his season in Australia at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race before heading to Calpe for a team training camp. De Gendt explained that the timing of the accident won't negatively affect his racing schedule with Paris-Nice remaining his next objective.

"It was a blessing in disguise that the incident took place at the end of the training camp," explained De Gendt. "Because the condition is not compromised. And I had planned a short rest after the training camp."

"From tomorrow I may get back on my bike for a light workout. Wednesday I shall venture for a longer workout. If I do well in the two tests, I will start Paris-Nice (March 6, ed)," added the winner of the mountains classification at last year's race.

With the experience of finishing the 2015 Tour de France with a "broken rib", De Gendt said that he is hopeful of riding with a broken finger, although team doctor will make the final decision as to whether he will start the second WorldTour race of the season.

The training ride accident comes just under a month after the Giant-Alpecin team were hit head on by a driver in Calpe while out training with several riders seriously injured. De Gendt suggested that he and Dockx could very well have been hit by a car while also training on their home roads and Spanish roads are not necessarily more dangerous than other country's roads across Europe.

"That Degenkolb was hit when riding in Calpe, is purely coincidental. Spain is not additionally unsafe for cyclists. It could well have happened in Belgium," he said.

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