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It might not be an official classification but the battle to be the top De Gendt is quickly becoming one of the fan favorites at the Giro d’Italia.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Aimé De Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) — not related — have taken it upon themselves to see who truly is the best De Gendt.
The pair has taken the battle to social media, making some good-natured jibes at each other over recent days. There’s no sign of the Giro d’Italia rolling out a new jersey for the competition, but it’s a fun side-story to the race.
“The first day we started it as a joke, a De Gendt classification because we have the same last name but we are not family and we are in the same race. It was just something fun to do, but maybe we have to take it a bit more seriously now for the next weeks,” Thomas De Gendt told Eurosport ahead of stage 6, with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
There has been some jostling for position, but after the elder De Gendt, Thomas, had to drop back from the peloton on stage 5 to help his sprinter Caleb Ewan, it was Aimé — who was riding for Biniam Girmay — that took control of the new De Gendt classification.
The 27-year-old now has a three-minute lead on his compatriot, but there’s a long way to go. This is Aimé’s first Giro d’Italia, while this is Thomas’ sixth and he has previously finished on the proper GC podium.
“I told Thomas that my best result is never going to match his third place in the Giro, so in that case, he’s surely going to win, but it’s a fun thing to do,” Aimé De Gendt said.
So, who is going to win? Well, the mind games have already begun with each bigging up the other’s chances as the ultimate De Gendt.
“From weight, I would have to say Thomas because I’m a little bit more heavy and there are still plenty of mountain stages to come so I think Thomas has the advantage,” Aimé said.
“It depends on what job you have to do. I think it’s also nice to see, we all have our futures in the race, he has to stay with Girmay and I have to stay with Caleb. It’s something fun to see if you are a domestique how much difference there can be every day,” Thomas countered.
“Yesterday I lost 12 minutes because I had to stay with Caleb and in the end I think it will be a surprising result. His sprinter can climb a bit better, so I think he will be better than me in the end.”
Yes, there’s the battle for the pink jersey, but the best De Gendt competition is going to be an intriguing watch.
Happy days. I could move up in the GC for best De Gendt by taking advantage of @AimeDeGendt duty to stay with Girmay. Tried being in the break in the start of the stage but it didn’t work out. Let’s see if he can take advantage of my breakawaychasing duty’s tomorrow.
— Thomas De Gendt (@DeGendtThomas) May 10, 2022