De Gendt signs one-year deal with Omega Pharma-Quick Step

The Belgian, who finished third in the 2012 Giro d'Italia, signs a one-year deal

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Thomas De Gendt has signed a one-year deal with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, it was announced on Friday.

The Belgian, who first turned professional in 2009 and rode on Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise his first two years, has been on Vacansoleil-DCM since 2011. With that squad folding at the end of this season, De Gendt and his teammates have been seeking employment for next year.

De Gendt finished third in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, winning stage 20 — a mountain stage that ended on the Passo dello Stelvio. He also won a stage at Paris-Nice that year, along with a stage at Volta a Catalunya this season.

Earlier in his career, De Gendt racked up several victories — including three stage wins in 2011.

“We’ve been following Thomas with considerable interest for some years now,” Omega Pharma CEO Patrick Lefevere said in a press release. “Our paths almost crossed a few times these past couple of years but due to a series of choices and contingent situations, the deal never came through. Now the time has come; we were sort of reciprocally destined to meet again sooner or later. We believe Thomas is talented. We’ve been following his sports history.”

“I’m very happy to become a part of this group,” De Gendt said. “I’ve always dreamed of being a part of a something like this, ever since Tom Boonen won the World Cup in Madrid in 2005. OPQS is one of the top teams, very professional in all aspects and with absolutely competent people in every sector.

“Right now I don’t want to think about specific goals for the season — there’s plenty of time for that. However, my objective is to get back to the level I was at in 2012. I’m going to work towards reaching this goal and to redeem the trust the team has placed in me.”

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