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Tour Down Under: De Gendt looks for 'ultimate jump' on Willunga Hill

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Thomas De Gendt will make his racing debut for the Lotto Soudal team at the Tour Down Under and the former Giro d'Italia podium finisher is targeting a stage win for his new squad.

De Gendt moved to Lotto after a disappointing season at Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 2014 but the 28-year-old, in truth, has been struggling for form since his podium finish and Stevlio stage win at the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

Now in a new team, and with a new jersey on his back, De Gendt is hoping to start a new page in his career.

"The route gets tougher every year. There are few chances of a bunch sprint. When I feel very well, I'll spare myself for GC, otherwise I aim for a stage win. In GC it always comes down to seconds, so you have to be lucky as well. There are several stages that suit me, like the fifth stage with finish on Willunga Hill. Also in stage two, to Stirling, it goes uphill in the final. I can rely on my ultimate jump," said.

Whatever success Lotto Soudal look for they will have to do it without their world class sprinter Andre Greipel with the former race winner not on the start list. However the Belgian team still pack a punch with Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Lars Bak, and Boris Vallee within the squad.

De Gendt appears motivated, at least, and although the Belgian rider would love to start his season with a win, he is not putting too much pressure on his own shoulders.

"The condition feels good. The first race of the season is always exciting, just like when I was a teenager, because you want to test the legs in a race. I want to have a good season, also for the team. I don't set a specific goal for the Tour Down Under. It won't make or break my season, but of course it would be great to win a stage."

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