The Lotto-Dstny veteran will goal stage wins on the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a España subsequent season, however has mentioned that he hopes to spend time racing in Asia at Continental degree, saying that the prospect to race there would “broaden the horizons.”
Talking to Het Nieuwsblad, the 37-year-old mentioned that he “nonetheless needs to maintain biking rather a lot”, including that he is eager to proceed exploring off-road racing, too, having already competed in a number of gravel races lately.
“I am going to cease at skilled degree, however it may simply as properly be that I am going to proceed at Continental degree. I nonetheless wish to preserve biking rather a lot. Along with one in every of my finest pals, Willem Wauters, we wish to soak up lots of off-road occasions just like the Cape Epic MTB race or gravel races within the USA,” he mentioned earlier than speaking in regards to the potential to go to Asia.
“I might additionally wish to race in Asia – Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea – purely for enjoyable and about 40 race days a 12 months. There are sufficient Continental groups who already wish to contract a European rider for some stage races in Asia.
“On the Tour of Langkawi, I noticed that these small Asian groups are properly organised. My former teammate Raymond Kreder rides for the Japanese workforce Ukiyo. For half of the 12 months, they go away him alone after which infrequently he comes over for the Tour of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan.
“That is an expertise I wish to acquire. It broadens the horizons and there is at all times a unique, relaxed ambiance there. Spending two or three years like that looks as if a good suggestion to me.”
He mentioned that ought to his Asian dream not work out, then he’d be open to racing at Continental or membership degree in Belgium, although he’d nonetheless be in favour of taking up a much-reduced calendar.
Prior to now three seasons De Gendt has raced 77, 97, and 79 days, and he mentioned that he would not be capable to go from that to zero.
“If that does not work out then I hope for a homegrown Continental workforce or membership to compete in some races with,” he mentioned. “However the intention isn’t for me to race as an elite all 12 months spherical. However, I do not know if it is wholesome to immediately say ‘increase, bang, accomplished’ in spite of everything these years on the bike.”
De Gendt’s ultimate season will mark his tenth with Lotto-Dstny after spells with Topsport Vlaanderen, Vacansoleil and QuickStep which noticed him win phases at Paris-Good, the Tour de Suisse, Volta a Catalunya and the Giro d’Italia, additionally ending second on the latter in 2012.
Through the years, he is established himself as a breakaway specialist, and since becoming a member of Lotto he is gained two phases on the Tour de France, 4 extra in Catalunya, and one apiece on the Giro and Vuelta.
He mentioned that part of his resolution arose from the months spent at dwelling in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the outcome being that it has since been tougher to be away from dwelling and his youngsters for lengthy durations.
He had initially deliberate to retire in 2022, however his “degree was nonetheless too good” and he discovered Lotto providing him a contract after the wins stored coming.
“I am 99% positive that it is going to be my final 12 months,” De Gendt mentioned, referring to his new resolution to hold up his wheels. “If I actually really feel like I am not fully completed, and I get to a greater degree once more… However it should positively not be a two-year contract.
“That is one huge query mark,” he added when requested about his future past racing. “I hope for some job provides. If they do not come, then I am going to have to search out one thing myself. I solely have sure experience in biking.
“Nonetheless, it might be that six years later, the whole lot I do know and say about racing is not related. Racing modifications rather a lot – for instance, I lived by way of the times when high riders stored quiet till the ultimate 20km however now they begin 100km from the end.”