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Thomas De Gendt to bikepack from Il Lombardia back to Belgium

Joe Robinson
4 Oct 2018

Joined by teammate Tim Wellens, the duo will cover 1,000km in six days after finishing their seasons

Once a professional cyclist finishes their season, you think the last thing they would want to do is ride their bikes some more. However, this is not the case for Lotto Soudal duo Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens who, after racing Il Lombardia later this month, plan to cycle from Italy back to Belgium.

De Gendt and Wellens will conclude their 2018 seasons with the autumn Italian classics, with their last race being one-day Monument Il Lombardia on Saturday 13th October.

However, instead of hopping on the Milan to Brussels flight back home, the duo will backpack their way home across six days. 

De Gendt revealed in a tweet that the adventure was scheduled to take six days, with the overall distance totalling 1,000km.

He also confirmed that both he and Wellens had booked all their hotels en-route and would be using bike bags from Apidura to store all of their essentials, tweeting a picture of the Ridley bikes he and Wellens will be using.

The recent winner of the Vuelta a Espana King of the Mountains classification spoke to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad recently about their plans.

'We will throw all our luggage on the bike in Italy and then just ride back from hotel to hotel. Just at an easy pace, without big haste.'

De Gendt added that planning for the trip had begun back in May, and the duo had tested their touring set-up in August just before De Gendt took on the Vuelta. 

Choosing to add an extra 1,000km in the saddle at the end of the season is no mean feat, but given the Belgian duo's clear appetite for punishment, it probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise.   

So far, the 31-year-old De Gendt has raced 87 days this season - the seventh most of any professional, covering 12,583km in the process.

That includes racing both the Tour de France and the Vuelta, along with tough one-week stage races Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country earlier in the season.

Wellens has had a light season by comparison, racing 'only' 61 days and covering just over 10,000km in the process although he has managed to notch up seven wins.

Impressively, De Gendt has spent 22 out of those 87 days of WorldTour action riding in the breakaway, proving that he really does love to ride alone.

Which begs the question, if the pair are riding from the Italian lakes back to their Belgian homes, how many of those days will De Gendt spend up the road attacking Wellens?