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The 2012 Vacansoleil team
Stage win and third overall caps perfect weekend
Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM are coming off the best weekend of road racing in their history after Thomas De Gendt won stage 20 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia at the top of the Stelvio on Saturday and then produced a good display in the following day's time trial to clinch third spot in the overall GC ahead of last year's winner Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD).
General manager Daan Luijkx is still coming to terms with the excitement of it all and what it means to to the team, who were founded in 2008 and only became a WorldTour team in 2011. De Gendt had already proven his form this season with a stage win at Paris-Nice earlier in the spring, but his efforts here far outweigh anything achieved by a rider in team colours to date.
"When Thomas was four kilometers below the summit [on stage 20], I had boarded the plane [to Italy]," Luijkx told De Telegraaf. "The purser had to come and tell me that he had won the stage.
"It was the most beautiful thing. And in Italy it was obviously important that we were on our Bianchi bikes with a sticker that referred to the performance of their hero Fausto Coppi, who won the Giro and Tour using the same brand.
"Beforehand [ahead of the final stage time trial] we were more than satisfied that the fourth place was good. Thomas had Scarponi ahead of him on the podium, for whom it was death or the glory. And the day before the leaders had not to kicked a lot.
"But I want to stress that the success is not just down to Thomas. Three-and-a-half years ago there was nothing, just some promising riders plus some older ones because we had no history. Now we have. The whole staff deserve a big compliment."