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Wilco Kelderman, the overlooked Grand Tour podium contender – CyclingTips

Wilco Kelderman starts his 14th Grand Tour on Friday. This year’s Vuelta a España starts out as a home race for the 31-year-old Dutchman who grew up not far from Utrecht. His best result in the Vuelta was a fourth place in 2017 but after a successful preparation in the north of Spain, Kelderman feels that a podium place is within reach. “When everything falls into place, yes I am confident,” he says.

Kelderman stormed onto the scene in 2013 with a 17th place in his first Grand Tour: the Giro d’Italia. He was only 22 years old and a promising talent. In his junior years he had already showed his climbing and time trial skills and as an U23 he continued that streak with the Rabobank Development Team, taking 10th in the Tour de l’Avenir when he was just 19, and 12th place against the pros in the Tour de l’Ain that same year. 

It was clear from the beginning that stage racing was his forte. Kelderman is a strong climber and a fast time triallist, even a former national champion against the clock. He is also the kind of rider who progresses towards week three of a Grand Tour. In short, he ticks all the boxes as a Grand Tour contender. He finished in the top 10 of the general classification in almost half the Grand Tours he’s started with a third place in the Giro in 2020 as his career highlight so far.

Kelderman (right) after finishing third at the 2020 Giro behind Tao Geoghegan Hart and teammate Jai Hindley. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Kelderman’s Vuelta stats are impressive with a 14th, 10th, seventh, and a fourth place and therefore it’s remarkable he always flies under the radar before any Grand Tour when the predictions are published.

“I don’t know if the Vuelta suits me best out of the Grand Tours,” Kelderman says. “This year is a different Vuelta because there are fewer steep, short ramps. The Giro usually has the longer climbs and the longer stages that I like but for one reason or the other I always do well in the Vuelta. It’s a hard race with lots of elevation and hard stages. In the end the strongest will always prevail.”

Bora-Hansgrohe, the team Kelderman has been part of since 2021, has three aces in the race. As one of those leaders Jai Hindley said, they are relaxed about who will be the leader in the end.

“We are a relaxed team with multiple captains,” Kelderman says, echoing the words of his teammate. “Sergio [Higuita], Jai, and me will focus on the general classification. In a Grand Tour it’s always hard to predict and decide beforehand who will lead the team because many things can happen. If someone crashes or gets ill you need a plan B. It’s always better to bet on different horses.

“We are a relaxed and down-to-earth group of riders but most of all we are realistic. It will become clear towards the end who will play which role and then we will act upon that and help the one in the best position to go for a result.” 

Kelderman riding in support of Hindley at the 2022 Giro. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The Vuelta starts with an inner-city team time trial in Utrecht on Friday. The team had a practice run on the straight and flat roads of the Dutch …….

Source: https://cyclingtips.com/2022/08/wilco-kelderman-the-overlooked-grand-tour-podium-contender/

Wilco Kelderman starts his 14th Grand Tour on Friday. This year’s Vuelta a España starts out as a home race for the 31-year-old Dutchman who grew up not far from Utrecht. His best result in the Vuelta was a fourth place in 2017 but after a successful preparation in the north of Spain, Kelderman feels that a podium place is within reach. “When everything falls into place, yes I am confident,” he says.

Kelderman stormed onto the scene in 2013 with a 17th place in his first Grand Tour: the Giro d’Italia. He was only 22 years old and a promising talent. In his junior years he had already showed his climbing and time trial skills and as an U23 he continued that streak with th…….

Wilco Kelderman starts his 14th Grand Tour on Friday. This year’s Vuelta a España starts out as a home race for the 31-year-old Dutchman who grew up not far from Utrecht. His best result in the Vuelta was a fourth place in 2017 but after a successful preparation in the north of Spain, Kelderman feels that a podium place is within reach. “When everything falls into place, yes I am confident,” he says.

Kelderman stormed onto the scene in 2013 with a 17th place in his first Grand Tour: the Giro d’Italia. He was only 22 years old and a promising talent. In his junior years he had already showed his climbing and time trial skills and as an U23 he continued that streak with th…….

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