Team Sunweb rider Wilco Kelderman put in an amazing performance in Tuesday’s time trial stage of the Vuelta a España, finishing second on the day behind overall leader Chris Froome, and moving up to third place in the general classification. The 26-year-old Dutch rider powered his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike to a time of 47:29 on a windy, mostly flat 40km race against the clock between Circuito de Navarra and Logroño.
“I’m really happy with today and I hope to stay on this level for the remainder of the race,” said Kelderman, who has emerged as one of the world’s top GC contenders during the final grand tour of the 2017 race season. “There was a lot of side/front winds, which made it quite hard to hold my arms straight, then there was lots of uphill and downhill sections in the second part. It was quite hard to keep going but I went as deep as I could.”
The 26-year-old Dutchman has excelled in the mountain stages, and has now proven his strength in the time trial during this year’s Vuelta. He started Stage 16 in fourth place behind Russian Ilnur Zakarin, and his strong showing against the clock moved him up a spot to third in the GC. In addition to riding the Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike, Kelderman also wore the Giant Rivet TT helmet to help battle the strong winds.
In the past week Kelderman has finished top-five in two key stages with summit finishes, and has now put himself in position to battle for a podium placing all the way to the finish in Madrid.
“Wilco did a really strong time trial today and really surpassed expectations,” said Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef. “It wasn’t the type of parcours where we would expect huge time gaps, because there was a strong tailwind and there were no really climbs to make a difference. He rode faster than the guys close to him on GC, which means that he moves up to third overall so we can be happy with what he did out there today.”
“I’m pleased with my time trial and it’s good to move to third on the GC,” said Kelderman. “Tomorrow is another hard stage, where we will continue to fight.”
In addition to Kelderman’s stellar performance, his teammate Lennard Kämna, a former world champion in the time trial as a junior, also had a strong time trial, finishing the stage in eighth place.