"I'm very happy to become a part of this group," De Gendt said. "I've always dreamed of being a part of a something like this, ever since Tom Boonen won the World Cup in Madrid in 2005. Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is one of the top teams, very professional in all aspects and with absolutely competent people in every sector. For a rider this is very important, like it's important to feel the faith of Patrick Lefevere."
The Belgian rider has several impressive victories and podium finishes in his career, including a third place GC finish at the Giro d'Italia in 2012, as well as victories at the Giro, Paris-Nice, Tour de Suisse, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Tour de Wallonie. His Giro d'Italia victory was on the Stelvio Pass, in the 20th stage in 2012.
"We've been following Thomas with considerable interest for some years now," Omega Pharma - Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "Our paths almost crossed a few times these past couple of years, but due to a series of choices and contingent situations, the deal never came through."
"Now the time has come; we were sort of reciprocally destined to meet again sooner or later. We believe Thomas is talented. We’ve been following his sports history. An athlete who can win a stage at Paris-Nice, one at the Tour de Suisse, the reigning stage in the Giro and even take third place in the race for the pink jersey definitely cannot have lost all his skills in just a few months. We're certain that Thomas has everything it takes to make a return and prove himself as part of our group. We've offered him a one-year contract with the conviction that for him, it can be a year of redemption."
When asked about his goals for 2014, De Gendt said, "Right now I don't want to think about specific goals for the season - there's plenty of time for that. However, my objective is to get back to the level I was at in 2012. I'm going to work towards reaching this goal and to redeem the trust the team has placed in me."
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