Second place for Mattias on the last day of the French race
The day after his great win in Antibes – the second of the season for the young Dane – Skjelmose took second place in the third and final stage of the Tour des Alps Maritimes et du Var.
Skjelmose won the sprint from the group with the best of the rest that, despite its efforts, was unable to close the gap created by Paret-Peintre (AG2R-Citroen) after a powerful attack at 4kms to go that earned him the solo victory.
A very respectable result for Mattias, who also wins the Points Classification, finished 5th overall and 2nd in the Youth Classification). However, it does leave him with a hint of bittersweetness in his mouth.
I have to be honest and today I didn’t have a super feeling. My teammates did a great job always keeping me in the best positions. We were always in control and my thought was to attack on the final climb, but in the end I didn’t have the legs I expected to make the difference as I wanted. I did my best in the sprint, and I got a good second place.
The desire to excel is definitely a strength for Skjelmose, as is the ability to look at what he needs to do rather than dwelling on what has been. His secret, in short, is to keep the right balance and never settle.
In general, I can’t fault myself at all for this start to the season. The results are there and make me satisfied. Etoile de Bessèges first and Tour des Alps Maritimes now have given me great confidence, but also helped me to highlight the weak points I have to work on. I feel I can improve the recovery aspect at the races, especially in the later stages. But, again, it’s good to perform well and get to know where the room for improvement is. That’s what I’ll focus on for the coming months.
There is still plenty of French racing in Skjelmose’s near future. Next weekend (February 25 and 26), he will race the Ardèche Classic and Drôme Classic. From March 5 to 12 he will face Paris-Nice for the first time, a key event to get in the mood for what will be the big summer event of his season: the Tour de France.
We have what we need to continue our golden moment. I think the whole team is doing great and this gives us confidence for what’s coming. We’re working really well as a group. We’re supporting each other to get the best for the team. That’s the best quality of our team and, in my opinion, one of the key reasons for this great start to the season.