De Gendt looking to 2013 Tour de France

Thomas De Gendt, who finished third in the Giro d'Italia, is on the verge of extending his contract with Vacansoleil-DCM for an additional two years. The Belgian also has his eye firmly on the 2013 Tour de France.

Appearing on the television show “Vive le Velo”, he said that “the contract is not yet signed, but apart from a few periods and commas, agreement has been reached. I will stay with Vacansoleil until 2015.” His current contract runs through 2013.

De Gendt catapulted into prominence at the Giro by winning the penultimate stage, the race's queen stage which ended atop the Stelvio. That moved him up to fourth overall, and in the closing time trial, a fifth place finish was enough to move him up to third overall and the podium.

The 25-year-old did not ride the Tour this year, partially due to the fact that his wedding was held on Saturday, June 30, the day the Tour opened. While he may well ride the Vuelta a Espana later this year, he has made clear that he plans to ride the Tour in 2013.

“Normally I will put everything on the Tour,” he said. “I think it's wise to plan my winter programme completely around the Tour.”

His teammate Johnny Hoogerland has predicted a top five finish for De Gendt, who of course agrees. “It all goes well, that should happen.”

He is not asking to be the sole captain, noting that “with Wout Poels we have someone who is good in the race. Why not go with a duo? After two weeks we can see who is the best and who you turn to.”

Poels was one of the most severely injured riders in the Tour de France 2012 stage six crash, suffering a ruptured spleen and kidney, a bruise lung and three broken ribs.

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