Thomas De Gendt showed himself and the Lotto Soudal colours during the second stage of the Tour Down Under, from Unley to Stirling. The Belgian rider was part of a three-man breakaway, but the peloton didn’t let them take the win. Still, De Gendt has some souvenirs. After the stage he received the KOM jersey and the jersey of most competitive rider.
After twelve kilometres the breakaway was formed. Thomas De Gendt had the company of Cameron Meyer and Campbell Flakemore. Their maximal advantage was 3’55” after 62 kilometres. IAM, Sky and UniSA, the team of leader Jack Bobridge, set the pace in the bunch. Thomas De Gendt won the two intermediate sprints and took the maximal points at the KOM. De Gendt has ten points, just as many as Bobridge.
More than 100 kilometres in front
The three wouldn’t battle for the stage win, with about 25 kilometres to go de Gendt, Meyer and Flakemore were reeled in by the peloton. A group of about fifty riders headed to the uphill finish in Stirling. Juan José Lobato was the fastest man of the pack. Daryl Impey was second and Gorka Izagirre third. In the GC Adam Hansen stands on the seventeenth place at thirteen seconds of Jack Bobridge.
Make the race hard
Thomas De Gendt: “We definitely wanted to have someone of our team in the break, because it was possible that it would survive. I tried three times and then I was part of the breakaway. I did think we could make it, but the peloton soon started the chase. The three of us tried to make a hard race of it. Eventually the peloton caught us quite early. At the start of the first local lap of 20 kilometres we had about 2’20” advantage and I still believed in it. Then Flakemore didn’t help anymore, probably for his leader Cadel Evans. Then the peloton got closer really fast and at the end I didn’t push anymore.”
Win the KOM jersey
“Tomorrow I’ll start in the KOM jersey. At 500 metres of the finish there are sixteen points to gain. If I ride top five, I can keep my jersey. After today that won’t be easy. In the other stages there are definitely other opportunities. In the fourth stage I’ll have to be in the break and probably best in the fifth one as well. It will be difficult to win the KOM jersey, but it’s possible. I will do everything I can.”