Wilco Kelderman secured the first overall victory for Team Belkin since their new sponsor came on board in June, and also his first since turning professional when he captured the general classification at the Tour of Denmark on Sunday.
Kelderman went into the final stage with a six-second lead over Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) having won Saturday's short time trial. The 22-year-old Dutchman then finished safely in the bunch behind stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
"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."
For Kelderman, who won the Tour of Norway and Thüringen-Rundfahrt, U23 while riding in the Rabobank Continental development team in 2011, it's been a decent year in terms of results, including a 17th overall at the Giro d'Italia which placed him third in the young rider classification. His win in Denmark however, was unexpected.
"It was a big surprise to win the time trial Saturday," Kelderman admitted. "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. 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."
The win may be a significant milestone in his burgeoning career, but he had little time to celebrate, heading straight to the airport afterwards.
"I am so happy with the victory. And even more important was the team support, which I like most."
Elijzen said he was expecting more of the same from Kelderman at next week's Eneco Tour which begins Monday week.
"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," he said.
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