Team Sunweb wrapped up a successful Tour de Suisse Sunday, landing three top-10 finishes in the final stage time trial. Danish rider Søren Kragh Andersen led the way, powering to a second-place finish on the flat 34km course Bellinzona.
Joining Andersen in the top 10 were teammates Michael Matthews in fifth and Nikias Arndt in ninth. The solid showing in the final stage capped a great nine days of racing for Team Sunweb at the challenging WorldTour stage race. Andersen also scored his first ever WorldTour win on Stage 6. And in the general classification battle, Kelderman and Sam Oomen battled at the front, showing top climbing form in the mountains and finishing fifth and seventh overall.
“I’m super happy about my performance today and how I went into it,” Andersen said. “I was relaxed and I believed in my plan. To be second is just a big bonus. It’s a good indicator of my form and where I am at the moment.”
In the GC battle, both Kelderman and Oomen were impressive. Going against some of cycling’s top stage race talents in a key preparation event for the upcoming Tour de France, the two Dutch all-rounders held their own. They both put in strong efforts in the mountains on Stage 5, finishing in an elite lead group on their TCR Advanced SL team bikes to move into contention in the top-five overall.
Kelderman dropped two places in the final stage time trial, but Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou said the 27-year-old is ahead of schedule after he suffered a broken collarbone in a crash at the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in March.
“Seeing Wilco already on this level after his injury is impressive and promising,” Bennekou said. “Finishing top-five in such a hard competition after a race break is incredible. Same goes for Sam, who managed to do a race on this level just after finishing his first ever grand tour [the Giro d’Italia] with a seventh place. That’s an impressive outcome.”
Adding to the team’s successes was sprinter Michael Matthews, who scored two top-five stage finishes in Switzerland and wore the sprinters’ points jersey for a day.
“In the end I think we improved our teamwork,” said Matthews, winner of the points competition at the 2017 Tour de France. “There is still some work to do but I think we are working well together. I think this is another good step for us toward the Tour de France.”