Pre-race favourite to concentrate on stage wins
Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Jean-Paul van Poppel was confident Thomas de Gendt could challenge for the general classification at this year's Tour Down Under - prior to the start of Stage 2. De Gendt had showed his eagerness the day before by contesting the intermediate sprints but at the end of the second day, it was a dejected rider who will now aim for a stage victory instead of the overall win.
"We have to be alert for anything that moves," van Poppel told Cyclingnews prior to the stage start. "Like all the teams we have to get the guys for the general classification in the front for the last climb but don't lose too much time before. Yesterday we took 2 seconds with Thomas [de Gendt] but [Simon] Gerrans and [Philippe] Gilbert took 3 seconds.
"It [Corkscrew] is only 2km and Thomas showed-off yesterday, it was an impressive sprint he did. He's very confident for today so let's go with that."
Prior to stage 2 van Poppel had suggested de Gendt would be amongst the first riders to crest the difficult Corkscrew Road climb but the day didn't go to plan. De Gendt was already in trouble on the early slopes and then amongst the numerous riders who got caught up in a crash on the fast and tricky descent into the finish at Rostrevor.
In this video de Gendt describes the day's events including the crash that occurred inside the final 10km of the race. With his GC ambitions all but gone he will now look to take the opportunity to hunt for a stage win.