Mattias Skjelmose takes time on Evenepoel, Vingegaard and Ayuso at Itzulia Basque Country time-trial: "That is to fight for a podium place in the GC"

The starting time-trial of Itzulia Basque Country saw quite a lot of chaos, with Remco Evenepoel crashing, Primoz Roglic steering off-course and Tom Pidcock crashing out whilst doing a recon of the course. Mattias Skjelmose took advantage of all the adversity on the day to race into a third place, ahead of most of his GC rivals.

"Overall I’m happy with my result and with what I did. The gap of 10” to Roglic, considering he also lost some seconds on the finish line, is actually not that small considering the expectations I had at the start, but a third place with those contenders it’s definitely not bad," Skjelmose said in a press release. "For my ambition in this race, that is to fight for a podium place in the GC, it’s a good start. In such a hectic race, when you go all-in for the GC the chances to fight for the win come naturally. I really look forward to racing in the next days."

It was a very strong start for the Lidl-Trek rider who hopes to fight for the final podium alongside a very strong group of stage-race specialists. The course suits him, starting with this hilly time-trial where he only shed seconds to Primoz Roglic and Jay Vine, and featuring several explosive hilly stages where he's performed in the past. He starts off stage 2 well positioned, and with added ambitions due to his strong start.

"It was a hectic time trial and I really followed my feelings. In the end, it was all about instinct. I did a recon three weeks ago and it helped a lot to approach it in the best way, especially the part downwards, after the intermediate point," he details through his effort. "I faced it with lots of confidence and that made the difference to avoid risk and keep the speed fast."

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