"We came here aiming for a podium, but it ended up being a ninth place" - Mixed emotions for Visma as Wilco Kelderman returns with Tour de Suisse top 10

One of the many Team Visma | Lease a Bike riders to get caught up in a crash in 2024, Wilco Kelderman returned to racing for the first time in over three months at the Tour de Suisse. In a solid return, the experienced Dutchman secured himself a top 10 finish in the general classification.

On the final stage individual time-trial, Kelderman even managed to move himself up a position from 10th to 9th. "I could not ride the time trial as I had in mind beforehand, but in hindsight it was a fine performance," reflects the 33-year-old in his post-stage interview with the official website of Team Visma | Lease a Bike. "Towards the top of the climb it became difficult to keep riding smoothly. In the end, it was a fight all the way to the line."

Kelderman hadn't raced competitively since Paris-Nice all the way back in early March, so to secure a top 10 at a competitive Tour de Suisse must be viewed as a solid if unspectacular return to action. "Due to some crashes, I was out of competition for a long time," Kelderman recalls. "I am definitely satisfied to finish here in the top ten of the final classification. I can look back on the past week with a positive feeling.”

"We had hoped for more in terms of the general classification. We really came here aiming for a podium, but it ended up being a ninth place. Of course, there were some factors that didn’t help, but we also have to acknowledge that the competition was better and that this is where we stand right now," assessed Team Visma | Lease a Bike sports director Marc Reef in conversation with IDL. "Kelderman has shown a very high level here. He fell during the finish on the Gotthard, but ultimately he rode a very strong race on his own afterwards. He picked up many riders and limited the damage. The next day he had a tough moment, but after that, it's gotten better each day. I think he finishes the race feeling great."

So will Kelderman make the Tour de France lineup, after being forced to miss the Giro d'Italia? "We haven't made a decision on that yet and will do so early next week, after we've had internal discussions. Only then can we comment," Reef answers. "Wilco is showing a very high level. Right now, it's the best he has in him. He's had a training camp at altitude, this race... now it's about recovering and then we'll see if he goes to the Tour or not."

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