Team Sunweb wrapped up its first 10 days at the Vuelta a España with another strong showing by Wilco Kelderman. The 26-year-old Dutchman finished fourth on a challenging Stage 9, moving up to 11th overall as the three-week grand tour paused for its first rest day.
The young Team Sunweb squad fared well throughout a tough first week at the Vuelta, which featured stages ranging from sprints to mountain climbs and even a team time trial, which the team raced well in, finishing third on their Trinity Advanced Pro TT bikes. Stage 9 was a 174km route from Orihuela up the coastline to Cumbre del Sol, with a summit finish atop the Puig Llorença, a Category 1 climb.
“I feel like the legs are getting better each day,” Kelderman said after his strong ride on his TCR Advanced SL team bike. “The team did a perfect job today positioning me before the last climb and after a perfect lead-out we stayed at the front of the peloton.”
An early break of 10 riders was kept in check for most of the day on Stage 9, setting up a showdown for the final climb. Kelderman was well protected on the high-speed approach, as teams battled for position to launch their climbers and GC riders. He still had five teammates with him at the start of the climb.
In addition to Kelderman’s strong ride on Stage 9, his teammate, 22-year-old Sam Oomen, also finished in the top-10, reaching the summit finish in 8th place. Both riders wore the Giant Rev helmet.
“It was full gas up the climb straight through to the end but I still had it in the legs to sprint to 4th,” Kelderman said. “It was great to see Sam up there with me too as he finished 8th.”
In addition to Kelderman’s strong ride on Stage 9, his teammate, 22-yer-old Sam Oomen, also finished in the top-10, reaching the summit finish in 8th place. Both riders wore the Giant Rev helmet.
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef said: “Our main focus for today was to make sure that Wilco was in position on the final time onto the climb. The guys did a perfect job. Not only did they deliver Wilco into position but also placed Sam well. Both Wilco and Sam put in a strong effort finishing 4th and 8th. They are now 11th and 12th in the GC.”
After a rest day on Monday, the three-week Tour of Spain continues Tuesday. It will finish September 10 in Madrid.