How it happened
After instigating the first serious move, Skjelmose drew out a group of big names including a strong Lidl-Trek contingent. As the lead group swelled, split and reformed several times, there was always a strong Lidl-Trek presence at the head of the US’s leading road race. On the front foot, Skjelmose broke away with Toms Skujiņš and four other escapees, and would never be seen again. With 28km remaining, now on the finish circuit, Toms made his move. Placing himself out front which forced the rest of the breakaway to chase, leaving Skjelmose free to sit back and shelter, saving energy. Skjelmose tried to jump across to his teammate, hoping to make it a 1-2 for Lidl-Trek, but with the gap at 15 seconds, the rest of the chase group was able to join them. Skjelly then sensed a brief lull and knew it was the right time for his attack. It was immediately apparent that the chasers were empty due to the effort of following Toms, and Skjelmose was able to build a large lead in the final lap. The Danish champion crossed the line with over two minutes lead, with Toms rounding out the top five as he serenaded the local fans across the line.
“I’m really happy!,” beamed Mattias Skjelmose. “This race is really important for Lidl-Trek and to win here and show a great teamwork is really important for us and to take the win is really special. Toms was super strong, I was super strong, I think both of us could have won. Toms made a good attack and then I was just waiting for my moment to attack. As Toms said before the race, we were just going 1-2 all the time, playing into each other well. In the end the guys cracked when I attacked the last time.”
“I asked Steven [De Jongh] if I was allowed to attack, and he gave me the green light. I got away along and then reached Toms but the others came back straight after. I was hoping it we could have a situation like in Denmark when Mads and me stayed away and got first and second. I was active a lot because I wanted a hard race, and I was feeling good so I took more responsibility. Everybody worked really well, first Asbjørn put us in position before EF made a move and then we were five guys in the group. We kept attacking until we had a group we were happy with and then I initiated the attack before we hit the laps. I’ve loved it here, it was really nice racing here and the whole trip, having fun all day… I really like being here!”