The Lotto-Dstny veteran will goal stage wins on the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a España subsequent season, however has stated that he hopes to spend time racing in Asia at Continental stage, saying that the prospect to race there would “broaden the horizons.”
Talking to Het Nieuwsblad, the 37-year-old stated that he “nonetheless desires to maintain biking quite a bit”, 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 stage, nevertheless it might simply as effectively be that I am going to proceed at Continental stage. I nonetheless need to maintain biking quite a bit. Along with one in every of my finest pals, Willem Wauters, we need to soak up plenty of off-road occasions just like the Cape Epic MTB race or gravel races within the USA,” he stated earlier than speaking in regards to the potential to go to Asia.
“I’d additionally prefer 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 need to contract a European rider for some stage races in Asia.
“On the Tour of Langkawi, I noticed that these small Asian groups are effectively organised. My former teammate Raymond Kreder rides for the Japanese workforce Ukiyo. For half of the 12 months, they depart him alone after which from time to time he comes over for the Tour of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan.
“That is an expertise I need to achieve. It broadens the horizons and there is all the time a unique, relaxed ambiance there. Spending two or three years like that looks as if a good suggestion to me.”
He stated that ought to his Asian dream not work out, then he’d be open to racing at Continental or membership stage in Belgium, although he’d nonetheless be in favour of taking up a much-reduced calendar.
Previously three seasons De Gendt has raced 77, 97, and 79 days, and he stated that he would not have the ability 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 stated. “However the intention shouldn’t be for me to race as an elite all 12 months spherical. Alternatively, I do not know if it is wholesome to abruptly say ‘growth, bang, performed’ in spite of everything these years on the bike.”
De Gendt’s remaining 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.
Over time, he is established himself as a breakaway specialist, and since becoming a member of Lotto he is received two phases on the Tour de France, 4 extra in Catalunya, and one apiece on the Giro and Vuelta.
He stated that part of his resolution arose from the months spent at house through the COVID-19 pandemic, the outcome being that it has since been more durable to be away from house and his youngsters for lengthy intervals.
He had initially deliberate to retire in 2022, however his “stage was nonetheless too good” and he discovered Lotto providing him a contract after the wins stored coming.
“I am 99% positive that will probably be my final 12 months,” De Gendt stated, referring to his new resolution to hold up his wheels. “If I actually really feel like I am not utterly completed, and I get to a greater stage once more… However it’ll undoubtedly 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 gives. 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 could be that six years later, every part I do know and say about racing is now not related. Racing modifications quite a bit – for instance, I lived by way of the times when prime riders stored quiet till the ultimate 20km however now they begin 100km from the end.”