Who were the men of the Giro? There was Ryder, certainly – and Rodriguez; but there was also Guardini’s confirmation; Ferrari’s transformation from from villain to hero; Cav and Taylor Phinney’s displays of grinta; Marco Pinotti’s class in winning the last time trial and Basso’s heroic but ultimately doomed bid for the podium. But perhaps the man of the race was Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt, who threatened to turn the Hesjedal/Rodriguez battle into a sideshow as he pulled off what the French call an ‘exploit’ on the race’s second last stage.
Ryder owes a lot to Christian Vande Velde for that afternoon’s work in keeping the gap to the rampaging De Gendt within reasonable proportions.
And the next day De Gendt blasted himself on to the podium with a scintillating chrono.
But let’s jump back to the 2009 Tour of Britain, and one of the stars of the show there is the young De Gendt from the Topsport Vlaanderen team.
He enlivens the race and takes the sprints and mountains jerseys.
Much is expected of the man from St. Niklaas in 2010; but the big results refused to come.
But a change of team – and diet – can work wonders for a man; and his aggressive, ‘old fashioned’