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Thomas De Gendt Talks Strategy, Sausages and Defending the Paris-Nice Jersey

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Here's an interesting interview with a guy who talks and rides well, and seems to have respect for cycling and its traditions...and his team mates and competitors. If his words turn out to be genuine, I could be considered a fan. I haven't followed Paris-Nice well this year, but it is usually one of the first two events I notice a bit each year (along with Tirreno-Adriatico. 

Here's the finish of Stage 1, where you can see Jens Voigt hanging with the young guys again, including de Gendt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmo4_lJYfrQ

I thought it was nice to hear what I took to be frank, direct answers to some interesting questions, like how's it different when you go to an international pro team:

TDG: At Topsport we all spoke Flemish and we were all young. At Vacansoleil there are seven or eight different languages and a much wider age range. It’s a bigger team, we ride bigger races, there’s more professionalism – and more pressure, of course!

De Gent got the jersey, lost it, then regained it, then lost it. He gives some credit twice to Thomas Voeckler as instigator. Here's a bit of what was decided by a small bunch on the sprint in when he was working to get back into the jersey...

VN: Your move to regain the jersey on stage four was very brave – ‘old school.’
TDG:
 Again, it was spontaneous, I saw Voeckler go again and thought; ‘why the hell not?’ I had good legs, there were five guys in the group – a perfect number and we communicated well. We agreed that if we had less than two minutes at the start of the last climb we’d have to ride it hard but if we had more than two minutes we could ride it steady and go full gas after that.
And all the pieces fell into place – it was beautiful.
VN:
 You told Voeckler you wouldn’t contest the stage?
TDG: That’s normal, if you have a guy who is after the jersey he won’t go for the stage, he’ll let the other guys contest that. 
Remi Pauriol asked if he could take the mountain points and I agreed but said that I wanted the sprint bonuses. We all agreed that we’d all ride until two kilometres to go; but after that I’d have to pull on my own because they’d be contesting the sprint full gas and I’d have to try to hang on. 

Here's the finish of Stage 4 of which they speak. Kind of mild stuff, but a nice roll through France can't be all bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPHRIBu-qfI

There's more so if you're interested check it out for some comments on giving up before a climb and letting the team know to ride their race, and on his team's efforts to create positive publicity for their sponsor in the wake of negative publicity associated with one team member. 

It was also fun to read that he's "too fat" to ride a 10% grade well! 

For more on Paris-Nice, check out this article after the race was over...higest finish by a briton in many years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/mar/13/paris-nice-bradley-wiggins

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/tony-martin-ready-to-target-the-tour-de-france

For an update on Tirreno-Adriatico, see...

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cycling/evans-takes-lead-as-gilbert-wins-5th-stage-20110314-1btme.html


Thomas De Gendt Interview: Who is the big Paris-Nice discovery? - VeloNation
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VeloNation

Thomas De Gendt Interview: Who is the big Paris-Nice discovery?
VeloNation
He also picked up as a stage in the Spanish Vuelta Ciclista, the GP Waregem and GP Joseph Bruyere. Moving to Topsport Vlaanderen for 2009, he won the Trofee Jong Maar Moedig plus a stage in the Tour de la Region Wallonne, not to mention his sparkling ...

 

[Vuelta Ciclista a España & More]

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