On what was deemed the most challenging day of the Vuelta a España, Team Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman climbed to 3rd place on stage 15 and now sits 4th overall.
Stage 15 of the Vuelta featured three major climbs along its 129 kilometre route from Alcala La Real with the highest finish of this year’s race atop the alto Hoya de la Mora, in Sierra Nevada. As soon as the peloton reached kilometre zero, the attacks came thick and fast, with an eventual group of eight riders jumping ahead of the peloton.
The GC battle began on the last climb of the day, the Alto Hoya de la Mora when a rider attacked from the group to go on and take the stage victory. With the breakaway caught, the fight was on for the bonus seconds amongst GC contenders. As the bunch went under the flamme rouge another rider attacked from the GC group to take 2nd place on the stage. Looking for extra seconds, Wilco accelerated away from the bunch inside the final 500 metres and took an impressive 3rd place atop the Alto Hoya de la Mora, ahead of the red jersey. Wilco now sits 4th overall as we go into the second rest day.
After the stage Wilco said: “Today was a short, hard and really fast stage. We had already planned upfront for the team to put me in a good position up front and the team did a great jo there. My legs were good throughout the stage, when there were attacks I decided to follow as the group had a good pace. In the last kilometre I gave everything I had straight through to the line and still had it in me to sprint to 3rd.”