De Gendt to Tour Down Under for third straight year

Thomas De Gendt knows if that if something works, it is worth repeating. Therefore the Vacansoleil-DCM rider will start in the Tour Down Under for the third year in a row.

After consulting with team management, De Gendt has decided to go to Australia again in January. "It will be the third year in a row for me to race over there and that shows that I like it,” he said in a team press release. “Like every year, the shape is always a surprise in the first race but it should be good to kick off the season with someone from the team in front."

Tomasz Marczynski will also ride the Tour Down Under, but the rest of the squad has not yet been announced.

De Gendt's stated goal for 2013 is a stage win and a top ten finish at the Tour de France. This year, he was a surprising third place overall finisher at the Giro d'Italia, using a solo attack on the penultimate stage, a mountaintop finish on the Stelvio, and a strong time trial on the closing stage to catapult himself on to the podium.

The Belgian is now in training and last week's teambuilding exercises helped him to face his future as a team leader. "I feel like training again and one of my goals is to peak more and more. The fact that the team made me peak during the teambuilding on Thursday night wasn't calculated but the cooperation with my teammates gave me confidence for 2013. After 2012 I will have a challenge to be a leader in a mental way at certain moments during the season where others have to count on me."

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