Team Sunweb’s Vuelta a España campaign sees an impressive 15 top 10 finishes, with Søren Kragh Andersen rounding up the total after taking 3rd on today’s 21st stage. Wilco Kelderman jumps up a place in the GC, to finish the race 4th in the general classification.
After 20 stages of racing in the final Grand Tour of the year, the final showdown came today for the race’s 21st stage finishing in Madrid. After Team Sunweb’s women’s team took a strong result with Coryn Rivera sprinting across the same finish line to 2nd earlier today, it was Team Sunweb’s men’s program’s turn to battle it out.
Following the relatively relaxed ride into Madrid, the peloton got down to business upping the tempo during the race’s local laps. In the final 5 kilometres, Søren Kragh Andersen brought Wilco Kelderman into position to ensure he finished safely with no time gaps to the winner. After his job was done, the 23-year-old Dane had his chance to shine and he didn’t disappoint. Battling it out amongst the fast men in the peloton, Søren sprinted to an impressive 3rd place to close his Grand Tour debut in style. Time gaps at the line mean there were more alterations to the general classification, Wilco finishes the Vuelta in 4th place overall.
After the stage Søren said: I’m really happy with the result. With even better positioning I could have delivered more but I’m proud of 3rd. We managed to deliver Wilco to the finish safe and he even moved up a place which is great. My first Grand Tour was much cooler than I expected, I’m super proud of myself and the team and it’s a great feeling to finish. I’m really pleased to have done this with this team.”
Wilco said: “I’m really satisfied with our Vuelta. Before I started the race I would have signed for this result. I’ve never had such a stress-free three weeks, the team kept me going through it all and gave me the confidence I needed on the difficult moments. I’m proud of what we have achieved here.”
After finishing his first Grand Tour Chris Hamilton added: “I’m really happy to finish my first Grand Tour. I was never in real trouble and came through quite well which I’m really pleased with. I never expected to do my first Grand Tour in my first year as a pro, it’s great to have been able to do so. We came here with top 10 ambitions and to be part of a team that finishes 4th is beyond what we had hoped.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef rounded up the team’s Vuelta: “Our goal was for the GC with Wilco and we did everything to achieve it. We had a young team with some experienced guys too. We dealt with some setbacks with sickness and crashes but we always believed in ourselves and kept going with the same target in mind. After finishing 4th we are all really happy and proud of this team of riders and staff. When you consider the last few days and how the team continued fighting with five guys, this is a huge achievement. Our young guys gained experience and all made an important step in their career which is brilliant.”