Vacansoleil-DCM has confirmed its roster for January's Santos Tour Down Under with Belgium's Thomas De Gendt hopeful of being in contention for general classification honours at the Australian WorldTour race.
"I asked to start my season again at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide," the 25-year-old said. "The team gave me confidence in 2011 and I managed to perform for a big part of the season on which starting the year at the Santos Tour Down Under contributed. At this year's race I was close to a WorldTour stage win which I eventually took in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Switzerland," the 25-year-old continued.
"My objective for the race in 2012 is to get a good stage result which will bring me towards the top of the GC too if I don't lose time at the other stages. The beautiful weather and it being the first race of the season gives extra motivation."
De Gendt claimed an event-high placing of second on the fourth stage behind eventual overall winner Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo), while Vacansoleil-DCM finished runners-up to Movistar in the teams classification. Romain Feillu also claimed four top-10 stage finishes.
"De Gent and Feillu will be back again and we will come to Australia with two objectives," explained directeur sportif, Michel Cornelisse. "One is to work on our sprints with Feillu and Dutchman [Kenny] van Hummel who both will be led out by the other guys. Secondly we aim to start the season with a great first race. The indicators for a great race can differ and have to be decided based on opportunities but the crowd and weather will also contribute."
Earlier this month, Vacansoleil-DCM's new recruit, Kenny van Hummel indicated he would be starting his season at the Australian event.
Vacancoleil-DCM's team for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under: Kenny van Hummel, Romain Feillu, Thomas De Gendt, Marcello Pavarin, Mirko Selvaggi, Wouter Mol and Sergey Lagutin.