Thomas de Gendt will join Lotto-Belisol next season, after the Belgian rider signed a two year contract with the team. The team is set to become Lott-Soudal in 2015. De Gendt is only the second rider to join the team for next season, after neo-pro Tiesj Benoot.
“Of course I'm glad with this transfer. I preferred Lotto-Belisol,” de Gendt said in a team press release. “From the conversations I had with the team management, they apparently had a strong belief in me that I could show myself and the team. That is also my goal, by racing in an attractive way and aim for good performances.”
De Gendt joins the Lotto-Belisol after a transition year with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, where he has struggled to find a niche within the team. At the end of 2013, the 27-year-old looked like he might have to drop out of the WorldTour when his Vacansoleil team folded. However, QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere was able to find a slot for him within the team, but it meant a substantial pay-cut.
De Gendt is best known for his surprise victory on the Stelvio on the penultimate stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia. He attacked on the Mortirolo and went onto win by almost a minute. The result was enough to put him within touching distance of the podium, and he went on to claim third overall the following day. While he would like his own chances, De Gendt is ready to play the team game.
“I would not refuse good GC results in a one-week stage race. There my time trial capabilities could be a great help but most of all I'm looking forward to give it all,” he said. “I can get the idea that sometimes there is work to be done for the team leader, but it's clear that this team offers chances to its riders and then it's up to the riders to take those chances."