While the majority of the Giro d’Italia peloton are relaxing with their feet up and enjoying a well-earned rest, Team Belkin's Wilco Kelderman is defying the odds, and his own expectations, with a more-than-solid display at the Critérium du Dauphiné in France.
The young Dutch talent, who finished seventh in the corsa rosa, sits third overall in the week-long stage race after he claimed the same position on a mountainous stage 2 from Tarare to the summit of the Col du Béal. He is 21 seconds down on race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) in second, 12 seconds back.
Kelderman held his own on the final climb when Froome and Contador went toe-to-toe and the British rider split the race with a series of powerful assaults. He made contact with the two leaders once they briefly slowed and even went on the attack.
“That was really good. I never expected to be going so well after the Giro. It was amazing. They were watching each other and Froome had to do it all by himself so I tried an attack,” he told Cyclingnews before descending the climb on his bike and in search of the team’s hotel.
His attack on the Col du Béal was eventually neutralized by Froome and he held on for third, and even picked up two bonus seconds on the riders behind him. Although he came into the race with three-weeks of hard racing in his legs, he now believes that a high position in the Dauphiné is possible.
“It’s still really close in GC and Froome wasn’t going to let people ride away but now I’ll look to the GC. It was hard to think about that after the Giro but after that ride I can say that I feel good and that I’ll try," he said.