Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) will take on the Critérium du Dauphiné starting this Sunday with the hope of building the final foundations towards a Tour de France where he'll be carrying great expectations.
The 26-year-old has long spoken of his ambitions for this year's Tour, and that he is hopeful of emulating his feats of the 2012 Giro d'Italia where claimed the Dutch team's first ever overall podium in a grand tour, finishing third.
"I want to rediscover my super form of last year," De Gendt told Nieuwsblad.be
De Gendt wasn't able to produce the performance he had hoped earlier this month at the Tour of California, finishing 52nd on the general classification, having lost 18 minutes on the opening stage, won by teammate Lieuwe Westra. De Gendt explained that a change in his riding position left him with an irritated knee but he is confident of turning things around at the French race, which begins on Sunday.
"I especially want eight days of racing back-to-back," he said. "I don't start the race with the intention of being in contention for the overall. I'd rather win a stage. If I can finish in the top five then that would be a bonus."
De Gendt earned the team's first win of the 2013 season at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, having earlier crashed out of contention for the overall at Paris-Nice.
"I've had my fair share of bad luck," he said of the year so far.