Dutchman continuing rich vein of form in France
Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) entered the Critérium du Dauphiné with little expectation of a high overall performance having just placed eight at the Giro d'Italia. However the 23-year-old, who has been "amazed with his form" after the corsa rosa, hasn't been shy to continually to attack and animate the race.
In the closing kilometres of stage 5, Kelderman and Orica-GreenEdge neo-pro Adam Yates attacked from the yellow jersey group and the duo managed to keep their noses in front, but were unable to catch Simon Spiliak who made it consecutive wins for Katusha.
Kelderman finished the stage in second place, picking up bonus seconds on the line which saw him jump into third place overall, 12 seconds down on Chris Froome (Team Sky) and equal with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
"Why should I always follow? That way I'll never win," said Kelderman before collecting another white jersey as the best young rider in the race.
"If the peloton would have hesitated, Yates and I could've easily taken ten extra seconds."
Belkin's sports director, Merijn Zeeman, explained that Kelderman's "wonderful style" is something to relish. "This is his style and it's one to enjoy, just wonderful," said Zeeman. "He saw a chance and went for it. That's exactly how we want to race as a team. Normally, it's great if you can follow the best riders in the world, but Wilco is in the shape of his life and is even able to attack them."
With stage 6 likely to be a chance for the sprinters, Kelderman and Zeeman both stressed the need to remain focused as anything can happen when least expected.
"Things are going my way, but that doesn't mean anything," said Kelderman. "Today wasn't difficult enough, it wasn't an uphill finish. Every day is different. I expect the other guys to be better in the tough final few days than they were last weekend."
"Tomorrow will be difficult again," Zeeman added. "The final is treacherous. It could go either way. The sprinters will be optimistic about their chances, but the overall riders should really pay attention."
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