The young Dane leads Trek-Segafredo at the Tour de Wallonie and finishes 3rd overall
Mattias Skjelmose successfully conquered five days of racing on some of Belgium’s toughest roads, including a Mur de Huy finish, to finish in third place overall at the Ethias-Tour de Wallonie.
The tour threw a little bit of everything at the young Dane, who rose to the occasion thanks in large part to a concerted effort by his Trek-Segafredo teammates. Mattias was surrounded by the Belgian savviness of Edward Theuns and Otto Vergaerde, the youthful exuberance of Mark Brustenga and Filippo Baroncini, and selfless work from Markus Hoelgaard and Matteo Moschetti. There was a general desire shared by the whole Team to see him succeed.
Mattias’ consistency in placing in the top 5 in three stages moved him up the leaderboard. Sitting in 3rd GC at six seconds, on the penultimate Stage 4 Mattias tried to win it all. He attacked over the final climb and caught the breakaway.
With only six kilometers to go, he pulled like a madman to the line in an effort to try and wrestle the leader’s jersey from Robbert Stannard. It kicked off a furious chase from the bunch.
Mattias finished 4th but the bunch arrived on his heels and was awarded the same time. Mattias gained no time but heaps of respect.
On the final day there would be no surprise attack – Stannard was not letting the young Dane out of sight. The GC remained the same: Stannard sealed the overall victory, Loic Vliegen second and Skjelmose third.
We caught up with Mattias Skjelmose for his final word on a successful five days:
“I’m satisfied with the third place in the final classification, it’s a good result, but it’s fair to say that we came for more. I think we showed since the first stage that our goal, as a team, was the win. And I fought hard to be on the first step of the podium. Unfortunately, we were not able to hit the big target, but we can’t regret our performances. With so short of gaps, the strategies from team to team were different, and some raced more for the podium instead of chasing the win.
“The positive feedback I got is that I proved myself; I was one of the strongest climbers in the race. It’s definitely something that can bring me to a new step in my career, as well as growing in consistency in stages races. Step by step I’m improving, numbers in hands, and together with the team, it’s ongoing process for me to become more and more a GC rider. Showing a good attitude and consistent performances is the first step for Grand Tours.
“My aim is always to perform well and to do the best in every race. And that’s my main goal for the coming months, I’m going fight and work hard for it, like I did here at Tour de Wallonie. Never give up is, and will be, my mantra to make my goals real. Starting from Clasica San Sebastian, my next race on the schedule, and then my home race, Tour of Denmark. It’s going to be really exciting.”