Thomas De Gendt has claimed that he thinks 2022 will be his final yr in the peloton, with the Belgian established to probably end a 14-yr career on the bicycle up coming yr.
The 34-12 months-previous Lotto Soudal rider has admitted to struggling this year, notably at the Tour de France, and informed Het Nieuwsblad that he would only contemplate continuing past 2022 if it was in a part as a highway captain or domestique instead than his present-day posture as one particular of the team’s attacking leaders.
“At the moment it is in my head that 2022 will be my past yr,” De Gendt mentioned in an interview with the Belgian newspaper.
“If issues instantly boost up coming 12 months or in a further function – a street captain or domestique alternatively of attacker or secured rider – I can return to that and go on one or two decades with a different angle, like guiding youthful riders and calming them down when desired.”
De Gendt, who is currently racing the Benelux Tour, claimed throughout the Tour that the stage of racing was significantly greater than he was used to, noting that he was having difficulties to retain up regardless of putting out record energy quantity figures. In the ultimate days of the race he reported that the 2021 edition – his ninth appearance – could be his last Tour, and reiterated that place to Het Nieuwsblad.
“During the Tour I presently reported that I would rather not return,” he said. “It relies upon on what the team wishes. If it’s purely as a domestique then certainly. If it is with massive anticipations like new many years, then I might rather not. The Tour has turn out to be professional operate. I’m no lengthier fantastic sufficient to get a phase and then I start to get nervous and assume I won’t be able to hold up. I would superior go on a instruction camp in July or trip smaller races.
“I have ridden the Tour 9 times and reached Paris 9 times. A couple of occasions with a lousy feeling, a couple of periods extremely superior. It is not that I instantly have a poor emotion about the Tour. A tenth participation will not make substantially variance.”
De Gendt took a break from the bike adhering to the Tour, with the challenging month piling up negative thoughts as it was declared that guide sponsor Soudal was departing immediately after 2022 and that longstanding staff users Marc Sergeant and Herman Frison have been on the way out.
He mentioned that using his bicycle more casually even though on vacation in Spain led him to rediscover his enthusiasm for driving.
“Specially mentally, it was all a little bit much too significantly. Sponsor Soudal leaving the group, riders leaving, team leaving, my poor ailment. I experienced a little bit much too a lot negativity around me during the busiest racing month of the 12 months.
“Immediately after the Tour, I didn’t contact my bike for 10 times. Then I went to Spain for extra of a holiday than a teaching camp. I did trip there, due to the fact I like to do it, but I did not really feel like training in a structured way. I rode when I felt like it and for as prolonged as I felt like. The enthusiasm for the bike came again.
“This wintertime I want to depart the bicycle in the garage for a month. I felt like I had to restart as well shortly this calendar year. Then the succession of Grand Excursions past yr and this yr was way too substantially.”
De Gendt, who this yr has a single gain to his title at the Volta a Catalunya, famous that racing at scaled-down races in August – the Brussels Biking Traditional and Tour of Norway – immediately after opting towards heading to the Vuelta a España brought less tension as nicely as a liberating experience because of to the lessen amount of level of competition.
“I wasn’t prepared for the [Vuelta] possibly. When I see how hard they are racing there and how high the degree is, I had it even additional in my mind that I couldn’t contend.
“Brussels and Norway [were] races with no pressures – fewer rivals, no media focus. It was liberating. Given that 2016 I have almost only ridden WorldTour races the place you always have to contend versus the very best riders.
“It truly is pretty tough to race for a prize and have a superior emotion about it. In Norway I was amongst the best 15 riders on just about every climb, and I was pushing the very same wattages as in the Tour, wherever I was dropped by 70 riders.”