Belkin helped control the 165km final stage that ended with a bunch sprint, with Kelderman tucked safely in the pack to win by six seconds to his nearest rival on the overall classification at the six-stage Danish tour.
“The team did an awesome job for Wilco today. There was a breakaway of five guys and it was controlled from behind, so it was just what we wanted,” said Sports Director Michiel Elijzen. “The GC with Wilco was the main target today. We are so happy to have made it to the finish without crashes or punctures.”
A big surprise
Despite some promising results this season, including fifth overall at the Tour de Romandie and 17th in his grand tour debut at the Giro d’italia, even Kelderman admitted his overall victory. “It was a big surprise to win the time trial Saturday. It was a flat, short course, but I think it was my best time trial of my career. It was really surprising, and that put me in the yellow jersey,” Kelderman said. “It’s really great to win here with the new team. They controlled the race for me and protected me all day. It was nice to ride in the yellow jersey.”
Kelderman had little time for celebration. Following post-stage protocol of the podium ceremony, anti-doping controls, and a press conference, he went straight to the airport. “This is my first pro victory, so I am very happy,” he said. “I have had no time to celebrate. Maybe we can find a restaurant here at the airport. I am so happy with the victory. And even more important was the team support, which I like most.”
A bright future
Kelderman confirmed his status as one of the most promising young Dutch riders with victory in the individual time trial Saturday to grab the leader’s jersey. Sunday’s win marks Kelderman’s first major stage race victory in just his second season in the pro ranks. “He has a bright future. He’s a real talent and it’s an important victory. He’s an all-rounder and he’s progressing well,” Elijzen said. “He’ll keep growing stronger, and he will be one of the main leaders for the big races for the future. He’s a real pro, he’s talented, and he works so hard.”
First of many
Kelderman’s two victories in Denmark were the first for the team since Belkin joined as the title sponsor. “It’s all about results. Winning the time trial yesterday, and the GC today, it’s a nice step for Belkin,” Elijzen said. “These are good wins, and we hope the first of many. It’s the start of something beautiful for the team.” Kelderman will continue racing at the Eneco Tour (12-18 August). “That’s also a big goal for Wilco. If he has the same shape he had in Denmark, he will be one of the top riders,” Elijzen said.