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“This was all I could do today after a long period without races, but I'm satisfied with my level. I'm happy the hard work paid off. My knee feels good, but I still miss some power."

Photo: Sirotti








22.04.2015 @ 19:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman fought for a top ten until the final metres in the Flèche Wallonne today in Belgium, scoring just that – 10th – on top of the Mur de Huy.


Robert Gesink made his comeback, finishing 25th at 23 seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Mike Teunissen did the rest, showing the team’s yellow colours in the escape.



Kelderman started the final ascent in perfect position. The 24-year-old Dutchman sat on the front row when the peloton turned onto the Mur de Huy.


“Short and steep climbs suit me,” said Kelderman, who was boosted with the return of Robert Gesink and Laurens ten Dam.


“It’s nice to have them racing again after some injuries. They’ve had some setbacks, but they’re fit again. I think we’re heading in the right direction with the team. Everything will fall into place again.


“Unfortunately, Tom Leezer crashed hard. That was quite a shock.”



Robert Gesink suffered during the 205 kilometres between Waremme and the Mur de Huy, but enjoyed racing again.


“I’m happy to be back, I’m feeling like a cyclist again,” Gesink said.


“This was all I could do today after a long period without races, but I'm satisfied with my level. I'm happy the hard work paid off. My knee feels good, but I still miss some power.


“During the first kilometres, when the side-winds split the pack, I wasn’t able to keep the wheel of the rider in front of me. That’s never happened to me before as a professional. I’m quite tough, though, and when the rest of the riders were weakened, I was able to follow.”



“We can and must do better, although Wilco’s 10th place is a valid result and a boost for the team,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “It’s definitely no ‘Hallelujah’, it’s a start.”


“It’s really unbelievable what Robert showed after three months without racing. A big compliment to him and his coach Louis Delahaije for returning to the WorldTour peloton in the middle of the season and finishing 25th on the Mur de Huy.”



Paul Martens fell during an unlucky moment. With ten kilometres to go, he hit the tarmac together with several other riders, including Sky’s Chris Froome. The German finished 104th at 8’04”.


“Paul’s crash was very unfortunate. Many riders went down today,” Zeeman said.


“Paul will be able to race again on Sunday. Tom Leezer won’t, he’s pretty banged up.”



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