Belgian professional cyclist Thomas De Gendt has indicated that the 2024 season will mark the end of his illustrious career. Known affectionately in the cycling community as the ‘breakaway king’, De Gendt looks to grace the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a España with memorable performances in his swansong year. His aspirations are not just about wins, but also about savoring every moment of competition in his concluding chapter as a pro racer.
The 37-year-old’s declaration was disseminated via social media platforms preceding a training session, immediately gathering a swell of support and commendations from fans and fellow cyclists alike. In a succinct statement, he shared his objectives for his final year, which includes claiming a sixth stage victory at the Volta a Catalunya and a second at the Vuelta a España.
De Gendt, who will continue to don the colours of Lotto Dstny for his tenth term in 2024, embarked on his professional journey with Topsport Vlaanderen in 2009. He swiftly made a name for himself, especially after his remarkable solo triumph on the Stelvio at the 2012 Giro d’Italia, sealing a third-place finish overall. The Belgian’s knack for launching audacious solo attacks and his clever race tactics cemented his status as a breakaway specialist, subsequently rounding out a palmarès that boasts stage victories across WorldTour events including the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España.
Having participated in 24 Grand Tours and crossed the finish line in 21 of them, De Gendt’s endurance and passion for cycling have been widely acclaimed. Off the bike, his close friendship with Bart Wellens led to adventurous undertakings such as biking from Il Lombardia back to Belgium and tackling a 700 km gravel ride in Spain. In a departure from the typical schedule of Tour de France appearances, De Gendt opted for a 12-day cycling expedition from Belgium to Spain in the lead-up to the Vuelta a España last summer.
De Gendt’s feats and adventures have not only demonstrated his physical resilience but also his dedication to the sport and a desire to push the boundaries of traditional cycling tours. As he prepares to bid adieu to professional racing, the cycling world watches with eager anticipation for what is sure to be a remarkable farewell season for one of its most admired breakaway connoisseurs.
As the peloton gears up for another season, the announcement brings a touch of nostalgia and reflection on De Gendt’s significant contributions to the sport. His name has become synonymous with daring escapes and indomitable spirit, qualities that will be celebrated throughout his final year of racing.