Echelons and badly timed move prove costy for Ilan van Wilder at UAE Tour: "Luckily, I didn’t lose time and at the end of the day"

Seizing a leadership opportunity at the UAE Tour, Ilan van Wilder is trying to make the best out of it. He leads the youth classification and sits fourth after Jebel Jais, but wished to do more over the 21-kilometer long climb.

“The echelons made the day a bit nervous and stressful, but I stayed calm and well placed thanks to the excellent job of my Soudal Quick-Step teammates," he said in a post-race interview. The performance in the time-trial had him well positioned into the mountains. Jan Hirt's early attack on the climb also made part of the team's plan to put pressure on a weakened UAE Team Emirates, so that the Belgian could perhaps take advantage of later on.

When Ben O'Connor attacked, with Jay Vine on pursuit, van Wilder himself tried to make the chase. That proved to be an unsuccessful effort, which aided his rivals that followed in the wheel of the relatively shalow ascent. "On the ascent I tried to do my best, but went a bit into the red when I tried to follow the late attacks. Luckily, I didn’t lose time and at the end of the day I am content with how things went," he admits.

He climbed up the GC with his strong ride however, and is well within reach of the final podium as it stands. "The white jersey is a bonus, but my main goal here is to get a good result in the standings," the the 23-year old concludes.

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