Thomas De Gendt was the surprise winner at the top of the Passo dello Stelvio, the highest peak of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, on the eve of the closing 30-km individual time trial in Milan. He went away on the Mortirolo prior to keeping his momentum over the legendary climb that he has been very familiar with for the past six years. In a previous video interview with Cyclingnewsposted on May 22, the Belgian from Vacansoleil-DCM already expressed his positive feelings towards the Stelvio and his new role as a GC contender after making a name for himself as an attacker at Paris-Nice last year.
At one point of the queen stage, he was even in a position to win the Giro d’Italia, considering the time trial abilities that he showed at last year’s Tour de France by finishing fourth in Grenoble behind Tony Martin, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador.
In a new exclusive video interview with Cyclingnews, he mentioned his fear that he might not perform as well as he’d normally do against the clock on Sunday after the huge effort he produced in the mountains. History recalls that his other performance was to finish sixth at l’Alpe d’Huez the day prior to the time trial in Grenoble.
“This year I’m not doing the Tour de France”, De Gendt said. “I’ve always had Giro and Vuelta on my schedule. This Giro will help me to prepare for the Vuelta where I’ll ride for GC again. Now if I keep my fourth place overall here, it’s a bonus.” However, there’s a high chance that De Gendt will even finish on the podium of the 2012 Giro d’Italia. He has to beat Michele Scarponi by 27 seconds in the streets of Milan. Shall the top three be – in whatever order – Hesjedal, Rodriguez, De Gendt, it would be the first podium with no Italian rider since 1995 (Tony Rominger, Piotr Ugrumov, Evgeni Berzin).