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How far can Derek Gee go? IPT sees echoes of Geraint Thomas in its Canadian protogé

How far can Derek Gee go? IPT sees echoes of Geraint Thomas in its Canadian protogé

Derek Gee’s fantastic performance at this year’s Dauphiné is turning heads, and not just here in Canada. The legion of fans Gee endeared himself to with his attacking style at the 2023 Giro d’Italia are still keeping an eye on Israel Premier-Tech’s Canuck, it seems.

After his four amazing days, so far, at Critérium du Dauphiné, Wielerflits spot with ITP’s sports director, Eric Van Lancker. In the interview, IPT’s DS pulls an impressive trifecta of saying Gee’s performance is unexpected, is reminiscent of Grand Tour-winning Brit Geraint Thomas and, finally, is not something that should create immediate Grand Tour expectations among fans at home.

Derek Gee winning Stage three of Criterium Dauphiné. Photo: Sirotti.

“No one expected what he is showing now.”

While Gee is well known to cycling fans here in Canada, especially around his Ottawa home, he rose to international attention at last year’s Giro with his series of seven breakaways, including four second place finishes. It turns out those results surprised even IPT staff.

“We then thought: He is in the shape of his life, he is performing a bit above his means,” Van Lanker told Wielerflits, adding “In fact, he already exceeded the expectations we had of him,”

When Gee returned after the off-season, the team was surprised again.

“No one expected what he is showing now,” Van Lanker admitted, even though Gee had raced with IPT’s development squad before joining the main team.

A Dauphiné revelation

What Gee is showing now is nothing short of spectacular. The Canadian converted his long list of runner-up finishes to his first pro win at Dauphiné. But, perhaps more importantly, he hasn’t stopped there. An impressive TT and two mountain finishes, where Gee has climbed with the world’s best, leave him sitting in third overall. The team is just watching to see how far the Canadian can go.

Already, Van Lanker says, they see echoes of a British great.

“I think [Gee’s] greatest quality is his big engine,” Van Lecker says. While “He will never become a real climber,” the DS continues, “I do see a type like Geraint Thomas in him. Not that the will achieve the same record, but his qualities are similar. He is not enough of a climber to compete in the high mountains, but he can make a difference through his strength.”

Gee wore yellow in Dauphiné, which already has many fans asking if a different yellow jersey coudl be in his future. Photo: Sirotti

Grand Tour…

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