The Dutch climber, fourth overall last year, was one of the first of the GC favourites to attack on a summit finish when, with the lack of attacking, it had almost begun to look as if the top names would all finish together.
Instead, together with an acceleration by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) Kelderman’s searing attack shattered the little group of GC contenders and put him ahead.
Sixth at the line, overall Kelderman is still a long way back in 14th place. But on the plus side, he’s pushed back after his bad luck and shown he’s not afraid of gettig into the thick of the action again.
“In the beginning of the climb I wasn’t feeling so good and the wind was strong, so I tried to stay quite easy, going early was not really an option,” Kelderman explained to reporters.
“Then I found my moment and I tried it and it was good, I gained some time.”
Kelderman was unlucky three days ago at the flat San Javier stage when he lost out to the other GC racers because of a mechanical. The incident, caused when another rider crashed, culminated with Kelderman on the wrong side of an echelon and, despite a frantic chase, losing 1:44 on the other favourites.
“I don’t know. It’s a lot of time I lost and that’s really shit, I will see, it’s still quite early in the Vuelta, two hard stages done now, so we’ll see next week,” he reflected after stage 9.
“I think the Vuelta is really hard every day, with the heat and everything, you can see a lot of riders getting in problems already," he said. “Myself, I didn’t feel so great in the first week. I hadn’t raced for a while and I need to get into the race rhythm. Now, the feelings are getting better.”
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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