Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck-QuickStep has already secured the first berth by virtue of winning this year's European Championships time trial, but the decision as to which rider will fill the other place is complicated as TT riders selected also have to form part of the five-man squad for the Olympic road race.

De Gendt's Lotto Soudal team-mate Victor Campenaerts, Wout van Aert, Laurens De Plus (both Jumbo-Visma) and Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) are all already being considered for the time trial. De Gendt has thrown his hat into the ring, but while he is one of the better choices when considering the road race, he admits that as things stand, he may not be the fastest rider against the clock.

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"I think Victor and Wout are one step ahead, but I would still like to put myself forward as a candidate," De Gendt told on Sunday. "They [selectors] may ask me to be ready for that Olympic week. I think that if you have five or six candidates, everyone will be keen."

De Gendt faces stiff competition for the Olympics

Image credit: Eurosport

But De Gendt also pointed out that he has improved against the clock this season and that he was "prepared to pay even more attention to it". "I may not be the world's best, but on a difficult course [like the Olympic TT course], I can certainly aim for the top five. I'm now trying to take another step forward, and hopefully there'll be a victory in a time trial [next season]," he said.

"If you come third in a time trial at a Grand Tour twice, then you have to be considered among the better TT riders," De Gendt added, referring to the two stages at this year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

"I've planned my season for next year so that I'm in top form for the Tour, and then the Olympics, which take place a week later. It's ideal to be able to extend that super condition for a week," he said.

De Gendt is currently bike-packing through Spain's Montañas Vacías range between Teruel and Valencia with his friend and Lotto Soudal team-mate Tim Wellens, reprising their six-day adventure from Italy back home to Belgium.

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