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De Gendt increasingly pessimistic about finding a team for 2014

By:
José Been
Published:
September 26, 2013, 02:26,
Updated:
September 26, 2013, 03:25
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 26, 2013
Race:
UCI Road World Championships, Elite Men time trial
Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) could only manage a 49th place finish at the 2013 time trial Worlds

Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) could only manage a 49th place finish at the 2013 time trial Worlds

  • Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) could only manage a 49th place finish at the 2013 time trial Worlds
  • Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil)

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Belgian vying for OPQS roster spot with Bakelants

Thomas De Gendt rode a disappointing time trial in Florence today at the UCI Road World Championships where he finished 49th in a field of 77 riders. With the dissolution of his Vacansoleil-DCM team looming at the end of the season, the 26-year-old Belgian is growing increasingly pessimistic about his options for the 2014 season.

"If I can't sign with a WorldTour squad, I'd better quit cycling altogether," he told Sporza.

De Gendt finished third in last year's Giro d'Italia after his impressive victory on the Stelvio. This year, however, the Belgian only has one victory in his palmares, a stage win at the Volta a Catalunya, and his only other podium finish was third place in the Tour de France time trial to Mont St Michel.

"This year has been disastrous," said De Gendt. "Not only if you look at my own results but also because so many teams are folding."

Two WorldTour squads will cease to exist after this season, De Gendt's own Vacansoleil-DCM team plus the Euskaltel-Euskadi team which for a moment seemed to have been spared at the last moment by Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso only to have the negotiations come to a halt. The demise of two WorldTour squads means there are 55 riders shopping around for a new team. To date nine Vacanseoleil-DCM riders plus one Euskaltel-Euskadi rider have signed agreements for next season, leaving 45 more with uncertain futures.

De Gendt believes he has two options for 2014: Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Lampre-Merida, though the Italian team isn't a very concrete option yet. Patrick Lefevere, Omega Pharma-QuickStep's manager, has one place left in his team for 2014 and he indicated in Belgian media today it will be between Jan Bakelants and De Gendt.

"If you look at this year, Bakelants had a much better season," said De Gendt. "If you take the past five years into account, I should come out on top."

De Gendt had an option to sign with the Belgian team last year and his contract would have started in 2014. "I should have followed my gut feeling then. It would have meant a larger pay check, too."

With a large surplus of riders on the market now things are looking dire for De Gendt. "It's very quiet at the moment. If I can't find a WorldTour team for next year, I'd better quit. It would mean I have to ride a bad program with one-day races in Belgium which are not my cup of tea."

And while Hilaire Van der Schueren, his current sports director, is trying to form a new Pro Continental squad for next season, De Gendt doesn't consider that a viable option. "That's nothing for me. I could do 15 kermesses a year and I am better than that."

bike_boy More than 1 year ago
Greenedge could do with a rider like De Gendt.
AydinR More than 1 year ago
He would make a good lead out man for their many sprinters, and a GC favourite to boot.
kevinzamora More than 1 year ago
OPQS need at least one good TT rider, since Chavanel and Velits are leaving, if they plan on defending their TTT title next year. De Gendt could be that guy, and if he trains with TMartin & co. he could get back to his last year TT form or maybe even better than that.
maplethedog More than 1 year ago
Very true...
Broth3r More than 1 year ago
You're not too good to ride in a Pro Conti for a year.
GuyIncognito More than 1 year ago
Wow, talk about pissing in the face of your average pro cyclist. He seriously threatens to quit if he doesn't get a ride with a WorldTour team? This guy is full of himself
antmills More than 1 year ago
Exactly what I thought! He only managed 49th in the World TT, but from his words you'd think he won! Get real mate and accept that market forces will decide what level of cyclist you are. If you love cycling then you'd enjoy the level of race that your talents warrant.
anthonyz More than 1 year ago
The impression I'm getting is that De Gendt sees himself on a trajectory to becoming a GC and hard 1-week stage race contender. If he moved to a Pro Conti team (even for a year) that would seriously disrupt his in-race training plans in the long-term. The racing program is everything to someone in his position--so much so, that it might even be better to take a year off and train on his own terms while looking for a contract.
webvan More than 1 year ago
That guy is all over the place...both results and in his head, really puzzling, "not normal" commes to mind...
webvan More than 1 year ago
comes
lifedebunked More than 1 year ago
when?
movingtarget More than 1 year ago
The reason it's quiet is because of the economy and doping. If De Gendt does not perform what does he expect ? He has not done anything much in the past 16 months since the 2012 Giro. His best chance might be with a new team or with a pro-continental team until something better comes along. Stop whining and get on with it.
Lexman More than 1 year ago
Just read what his team wants him to ride this year : Milan - Torino Lombardia Paris - Bourges Paris Tours Binche Kapellen Let him stop for this season and concentrate on his future...
Gary_K More than 1 year ago
Proclaiming to be a GC contender and winning very little is a bad move and the wrong angle to market oneself!! You can make a great living and reputation from being an excellent rouleur, super domestique and lead out man, while having a few opportunities for yourself along the way. At his age, a couple of steps backwards might teach him this.
Al Lesklar More than 1 year ago
He'd want a WorldTour team to be a super-domestique. Or a team like IAM or Europcar... but the market's crowded w/ inconsistent opportunists.
powerste More than 1 year ago
With an attitude like that, I'm not holding my breath for him. Maybe he does need to do something else now...