De Gendt (left), and De Gendt (right)

The Giro’s De Gendt classification is heating up

Two De Gendts, separated by just 13 seconds: who will prevail in this fiercely-fought race within a race?

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Forget the Maglia Rosa, the Maglia Ciclamino, the Maglia Azzurra. In this, the 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia, there’s a new classification that has our attention.

Lurking down the GC sheet in 130th and 131st place are two De Gendts, vying for the honour of the De Gendt-iest De Gendt in the Giro. 

In one corner: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal). You probably know about him. The 35 year old turned pro in 2009, and has made a name for himself in the years since as a breakaway specialist, notching up stage wins in all three Grand Tours. The Giro d’Italia is a particularly happy hunting ground for him – he finished third on the GC in 2012 following a stomping stage win on the Stelvio. Remember that? I didn’t, but boy did it surprise me when I had my memory jogged.  

In the other corner: Aimé De Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux). You know about him a little less. He’s been a pro since 2016, and is no relation to Thomas De Gendt. He has one career victory compared to his namesake’s 16 pro wins.   

Thomas has the pedigree, Aimé is the hungry young upstart. So who’s got the edge heading into stage 4? 

Early days, but in 130th on the GC – 4 minutes and 40 seconds off the race lead – is Aimé De Gendt. In 131st, 13 seconds further back, is Thomas De Gendt. Thomas has been steadily picking off rivals over the past few days, gaining places here and there; Aimé came in hot with a 122nd place on stage 1 and has been backsliding since then. 

What can past head-to-heads from the De Gendts tell us? Well, there isn’t a wealth of data to draw on. They have raced the same Grand Tour as each other just once – the 2019 Tour de France, which saw Thomas get a stage win and finish 60th and Aimé land, winless, in 136th overall. 

But time is a fickle thing. Riders wax, and riders wane. The earth turns. The seasons change. So: here we are in 2022 at the Giro d’Italia, with two De Gendts vying for supremacy in a category that means absolutely nothing but also means absolutely everything (if you are a De Gendt racing the Giro d’Italia).

Who will prevail by race’s end in Verona? Only the road will decide – but my money’s on De Gendt.

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