Dutchman to begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve
Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) will continue his swift progression as a general classification rider, as he targets the Giro d'Italia's white jersey in 2014.
Kelderman made his debut at the Giro this year, where held the jersey for two stages, before relinquishing it to Saxo-Tinkoff's Rafal Majka. The Dutchman finished third in the classification, behind Carlos Betancur and Majka, and 17th overall.
With Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema both heading to the Tour de France, Kelderman is the likely leader of the team when the Giro starts in Ireland. The 22-year-old will begin his 2014 season three weeks later than this year at the Volta ao Algarve, after he decided to skip the Tour Down Under.
"I have more time to work,” Kelderman told Bicicilismo. “Last year I only trained little before I began racing in Europe. My goals are to make good placings in the stage races but my primary objective is the Giro.” After taking on the Volta ao Algarve, he will head to Paris-Nice, Volta Catalunya, before looking to the Giro d'Italia.
Since joining Rabobank senior squad last year, Kelderman has been snapping at the heels of his more illustrious teammates. The Belkin rider made a name for himself at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2012 when he finished fourth behind the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin in the individual time trial. Kelderman went on to finish eighth in the overall classification and claimed the young rider's jersey.
He took his first professional general classification victory at the Denmark Rundt this year, where his first stage win in the individual time trial and also laid claim to a top five placing at the Tour de Romandie. Kelderman finished the season as the third Belkin rider in the WorldTour rankings, after Mollema and Gesink. Belkin have managed to keep hold of the young talent, but there will be plenty of interest when his contract runs out at the end of next season.
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