“Glad Paris-Nice was not cancelled” – Thomas De Gendt


“Glad Paris-Nice was not cancelled” – Thomas De Gendt

Thomas De Gendt rode a remarkable Paris-Nice. In the final stage he seemed to be on his way to the victory on La Colmiane but Nairo Quintana decided otherwise. He already showed his excellent shape during the individual time trial.

I am really glad we could ride Paris-NiceThomas De Gendt says. “Otherwise we would have trained that hard for nothing. It is still a great race even with a smaller peloton this year. To be honest, the race lost a bit of its splendour after several top teams had cancelled but every day was really a battle. Just look at the stage won by Benoot or also the final stage where the overall win was decided at the finish. Of course, I fully understand several teams forfeit. Each team makes their own decision which is respected by the other teams. If our team doctors would have decided that we couldn’t participate, we wouldn’t have. During Paris-Nice, we followed all directives very well and we only had close contact with the people from our own team so the risk of getting infected was minimal. Let’s hope the current situation will clear up as soon as possible and we can race again within one of two months.”

Meanwhile Thomas De Gendt and his colleagues will have to maintain their condition.

But how? That is the question,” De Gendt asks. “We must discuss this with our trainer. The most difficult is especially: towards what do you train? Towards half May? Towards the Belgian Championship? Towards the Tour de France? It is a bit silly to peak for a certain date if there are no prospects. I think the Tour will take place; I am certainly aiming for it.”

On the final day of Paris-Nice, De Gendt almost stunted. After ten kilometres he was a part of the right breakaway which later consisted of nearly six men. On the final climb towards La Colmian he threw everyone overboard, Alaphilippe being the latter.

I could tell by his face that he was at the end of his forces. I did not want to take any risk and left him behind. I didn’t intend to give him a free ride and yet, I did not believe in a victory anymore. I was almost at the end of my powers. In the leading group of six, Bettiol and Paret-Peintre were not cooperating and Perez was of no help on the climb. Eventually we did all the work with three men and after 150 kilometres, I had a lot of turns at the head of the group. I knew I had to have at least a 1-minute lead 3 kilometres before the finish. And then came Quintana, it was over and out for me. Nevertheless, I come back to Belgium with a nice feeling. I wonder for how long…