Lotto Soundal: Thomas De Gendt wins on Mont Ventoux! pubblicato il 15/07/2016
Thomas De Gendt vince la 12a tappa del Tour de France © ASO/A.Broadway


Thomas De Gendt wins on Mont Ventoux!

Thomas Gendt won the stage to the Mont Ventoux today, the first victory for Lotto Soudal at this year’s Tour de France!

Yesterday the Tour organisation decided to shorten the stage because of the strong wind at the top of the Mont Ventoux. The new finish line was drawn six kilometres before the top, at Chalet Reynard. The question was if the GC riders would battle for the stage win or if a breakaway rider would triumph. Pretty soon a front group of fourteen was created, including Lotto Soudal riders Thomas De Gendt and André Greipel. One of their companions got dropped because of a puncture and so thirteen riders remained in front.
A group of five chasers never managed to join them. The time gap between the front group and the peloton rose up to 18’45”. With 85 kilometres to go it looked rather reassuring for the break, but then some teams decided they wanted some action and tried to create echelons. The first peloton kept coming closer to the leaders and with 33 kilometres to go the time gap was 7’48”. After a crash in the peloton the pace slowed down so the riders involved could come back, that way the gap got bigger again. The winner was one of the riders of the breakaway!


Just before the foot of the Mont Ventoux André Greipel accelerated. He stayed ahead of the others for a short while. The German champion had already done a lot of work during the day for his teammate Thomas De Gendt. Once the climb really started Thomas set the pace, one by one the others got dropped. De Gendt turned out to be one of the strongest riders, together with Dani Navarro and Serge Pauwels. They entered the final kilometre together. The two Belgians left Navarro behind with a few hundred metres to go, then De Gendt beat his fellow countryman at the finish. It is his second stage win in a Grand Tour. In 2012 he won the mountain stage to the Stelvio at the Giro d’Italia. Thomas was also awarded the combativity prize today and he has the polka dot jersey around his shoulders again. De Gendt, who conquered the maximum points at the finish and on two smaller climbs during the stage, now has nine points more than Thibaut Pinot.

Thomas De Gendt: “It was a good front group, the cooperation ran smoothly. I had a strong teammate by my side. During the season I work a lot for André, but today he did so much for me. It was an honour to have a great cyclist like him to support me. On the Ventoux I remained in front with only two others quite soon. I had decided to keep my own pace. I got distanced, but I didn’t panic and stayed in my rhythm. I managed to get back in front. At the end it was difficult to know how far it was till the finish because of the many spectators along the side of the road.  I was surprised when we entered the last kilometre. Serge and I feared that Navarro would still get back, but he didn’t.”

“I am really happy with this victory. It’s difficult to choose between this win and the one on the Stelvio. The Tour is a bigger race, but that Giro stage was the first big victory in my career and it also got me third on GC. Up till now we hadn’t won yet with the team at this Tour. Maybe another stage win will follow now, there are still a few chances for André. At the finish the KOM points were doubled and I own the polka dot jersey again. I still think it is very difficult for someone other than a GC rider to take the jersey home. I only have a small lead. I am keen on joining more breakaways and then we’ll see where it ends.”

“Tonight we will definitely have a drink, but modestly, because we are all thinking of Stig Broeckx. We all were a bracelet with the text ‘Fight for Stig’ and we keep on fighting, with him and his family. We talk about Stig a lot and he’s always on our minds. I dedicate this victory to him.”


Rafal Valls had to abandon the Tour de Pologne today. He has a fracture in his pubic bone due to a crash.


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