Thomas De Gendt is one of the larger than life characters in the peloton. Always keen for a breakaway, even keener to make the cut for Tweets of the Week with his funny quips on social media.
The boredom of the coronavirus lockdown has either got to De Gendt or he’s doing his best to keep everyone’s spirits up as he recently hosted a Q&A on Twitter, taking the time to answer a multitude of questions from fans around the world.
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Candid as ever, the answers were eye-opening, and in order to save you the time of finding all the best ones we’ve listed them below for you.
The topics the Belgian delves into are as exhaustive as his breakaway riding, revealing things such as his nickname in the peloton, his favourite breakaway counterparts and why he didn’t develop into a GC rider.
Best and worst Monument to race and why?
Best: Milan-San Remo (easiest) Worst: Il Lombardia (hardest)
What is the strangest thing you have eaten during a race?
How many stages generally in a Tour do you ‘plan’ to try for a breakaway?
What nickname do other riders have for you? Or is it not repeatable?!
“Not him again” is the one I hear the most.
How often do you train off the bike (core, weights, cross-train) and what training off the bike do you find most important to do?
Most talented active rider? Most talented rider you have ever raced against?
Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogaçar
Who was your favourite team leader to work for as a domestique and why?
André Greipel. The gentle gorilla.
Is riding the Tour de France behind closed doors a good or bad idea?
It’s the only idea to save cycling. If there is no Tour a lot of sponsors will stop their agreement with the teams and teams will fold because of that.
Is it true you never have a massage after riding? Has that always been the case or did a particular incident influence your decision?
My last massage was in 2017. I just don’t need them.
Do you still refuse to warm-up for a time trial?
How much do you actually train during the season or is it race, recover and race again?
If it is a long period of training between races then I train 750km a week.
Do you, or anyone you know, listen to music during a race?
I did it once in a 265km stage during the Giro d’Italia in 2012.
If you could choose your perfect team, who would be in it? Any era, any nationality, none of your current team though!
Which is your most beautiful solo victory to date?
Volta a Catalunya 2019, stage 1
Favourite rider of all-time?
The king. Eddy Merckx.
Which race, that you haven’t won, would you most like to add to your palmarès?
Belgian road race championships.
You came third in your second Grand Tour at 25 years old, did you think that you were perhaps a GC rider?
I hoped to be one but I was not mentally stable enough. I could not handle the stress.
You say that but being successful in a breakaway the way you have been so many times requires a considerable mental strength?
That is for one day at a time. GC guy needs to be strong every day.
Who was your biggest rival underage that you still race against today?
Nikolas Maes and Jan Bakelants.
The most memorable day/race of your career so far?
The 2019 Tour de France.
Favourite meal after a long breakaway?
Queens of the Stone Age
Best and worst day on the bike?
Best day was stage eight in the Tour last year. Worst day was the Stelvio stage in the snow at the Giro 2014. Great legs, horrible weather. The day men cried on the bike.
Who has the best banter in the peloton?
Not one guy in particular but our squad during the 2018 Vuelta was top banter from start to finish.
What do you usually think rolling along alone on the breakaway?
I hope this ends well. It’s starting to hurt now. Maybe I should take it easier. Only one more kilometre at this pace. Ok, maybe a few more *sees 50km to go mark*. FFS.
World champion or Olympic champion?
Worst rider to be in a break with? (apart from yourself)
What is your FTP?
No idea. I don’t know how to calculate my FTP.
Favourite riders to get in a four-man break with?
Alessandro De Marchi, Alexis Gougeard, Remi Cavagna.
In the past Indurain, Museeuw, Armstrong took leadership in the peloton. Who do you see as a modern leader of the WorldTour peloton in 2020 if any?
No one yet. Maybe one of the young guys in a few years.
Rim brakes or disc brakes?
I only started riding discs this year. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
Stupidest question you have ever been asked?
*after a win* are you satisfied with your race?
Have you ever ridden a tandem with your wife or kids?
No. I did with a teammate on teambuilding. We dropped the guide. He told us before we started that we would have a hard time to follow because he was on a e-bike. He got dropped after 1km.