Wilco Kelderman is aiming for the Tour de France in 2015.
"It seems logical that I will start there," the number 7 from this year's Giro d'Italia said. Team Belkin sports director Frans Maassen agrees with his young protégé. "If you look at his development, it's probable that he will make his Tour debut next year."
The 23-year-old Dutch rider started his second Grand Tour in Belfast three and a half weeks ago. In 2013 he rode in support of Robert Gesink but nonetheless finished 17th. This year Team Belkin presented him as their team captain and Kelderman did what was expected. "My goal is a top ten position," he said before the start.
Kelderman is a solid climber and a good time trial rider. It's the DNA of a Grand Tour rider. In the Giro it resulted in a seventh place in Triëste yesterday. But he has his mind on 2015 already.
"The Tour de France is the biggest race of them all," he tells Algemeen Dagblad today. "That's where I want to be". The Grand Départ in Utrecht in 2015 is a mere 30 kilometres from his home in Barneveld.
"I don't need to be at the Tour every year," Kelderman said. "But it seems logical to me that I will take that step up after finishing two Giro's. Especially since the start of the Tour is so close to home next year."
Team Belkin has a wide range of Grand Tour riders to choose from. Bauke Mollema finished 12th in his first Giro in 2010, fourth in the Vuelta in 2011 and sixth in the Tour de France last year. Robert Gesink has four top ten places in Grand Tours on his palmares including a fifth place in the 2010 Tour de France. Laurens ten Dam finished 8th in the Vuelta in 2012 and 13th in the Tour de France last year. Steven Kruijswijk finished 8th in his second Grand Tour (Giro 2011) but has been set back by injuries ever since.
Kelderman knows he is not the only one in the team. "I would be very disappointed if I didn't start the Tour next year. It's not that I need to be the team's captain there. But maybe I can be one of the team's captains."
For Kelderman his third Grand Tour will probably already be this year. He is likely to ride the Vuelta but first he will take his Giro form into the Criterium du Dauphiné which starts this Sunday in Lyon.