Race report

Wilco Kelderman 5th after great teamwork in echelon action

Vuelta a España

After yesterday’s rest day the peloton were met with the longest stage of the race; 220 kilometres from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara. Despite the lack of any categorised climbs, the day was littered with small rolling hills which could sap the legs of the bunch and make for a tricky day in the saddle.

Instead though, it was the weather conditions that had a major impact on the outcome of the day. Fiercely strong winds combined with exposed roads saw the peloton split in the opening kilometres of the stage, with a group of over 40 riders getting clear of the red jersey group. The team were active at the front and one of the main instigators in the split, with Wilco Kelderman, Nikias Arndt, Casper Pedersen, Robert Power and Max Walscheid all present at the front.

From that point on it was fast and frenetic for the rest of the day, with the gap to the group at the front increasing throughout the afternoon. Once the peloton reached around 86 kilometres to go they turned from a crosswind to mostly a tailwind for the remainder of the day, which made for an incredibly high average speed. Power, Arndt, Walscheid and Pedersen gave it their all in the front to keep the group co-operating and to increase the gap for Kelderman over the GC riders who were in the chase group.

Coming towards the finish, the road dragged upwards and numerous attacks were launched at the head of the race. Kelderman dug as deep as he could, crossing the line for a strong fifth place on the stage after some great teamwork. With the time gaps to those behind, Kelderman also moved up on the GC standings to sixth place as the race returns to the mountains tomorrow.

“We started all together at the front and we really ripped the bunch to pieces along with a few other teams,” explained road captain Arndt at the finish. “It was a really great day for us and Wilco could gain some time. It was an absolutely great team effort and after this we can be really motivated heading into the last days at the Vuelta. We didn’t go for a stage result but therefore everyone gave it their all for Wilco and his GC fight; the teamwork was really, really good today.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “Today was the longest stage of the Vuelta. There was a high wind forecast for the day and we knew it would be a nervous day from the beginning. We had our guys prepared and ready right from the start to make sure they stayed sharp all day, but actually the race split in the first kilometre or two. We had five guys there, together with another couple of teams, who had an interest in keeping the group going. The gap was opening up and we realised then that we had the race under control and could work away to gain some time back on the GC for Wilco. In the end it was a hard day for everyone in the peloton, with high speeds all day. The guys did a really strong ride today to gain a few minutes back on GC for Wilco, with him moving up a few places in the top ten now because of that.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GILBERT Philippe Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:20:15 100
2 BENNETT Sam BORA - hansgrohe 0:02 40
3 CAVAGNA Rémi Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 20
5 KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb ,, 4
12 WALSCHEID Max Team Sunweb 0:09 -
24 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 2:02 -
25 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb 2:09 -
27 POWER Robert Team Sunweb 4:55 -
42 TUSVELD Martijn Team Sunweb 6:34 -
120 STORER Michael Team Sunweb 29:21 -