Skjelmose concedes yellow jersey but admits it actually plays into his hands as he continues to eye up General Classification success.
Losing the overall race lead might to some seem like a disappointing end to Tour de Suisse Stage 4 for some, but for Mattias Skjelmose the 152.5-kilometer race was one led by tactics.
Just two seconds separates the young Dane, who went into yellow after his victory on Stage 3, from the day’s winner and new race leader, Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën), who attacked from the group of General Classification favourites on the final climb.
Skjelmose remained calmed and collected, knowing that he could benefit from not having the weight of the leader’s jersey on his shoulders while also believing that he could tactically lose the least amount of time possible to ensure he is well and truly still in the fight for the overall victory come Sunday.
The 22-year-old kept his eyes on the rider who poses perhaps the biggest threat on the General Classification, Remco Evenpoel (Soudal – Quick-Step) and followed the rainbow jersey when, after being dropped from the group earlier on the climb, he made some late moves off the front of the chasing group.
In the sprint for the line behind Gall, Evenpoel took second with Skjelmose third across the line and now, the duo is separated by 14 seconds with the race far from over and plenty more exciting climbing action to come.
The race from Skjelmose's POV
I actually hoped [when Gall attacked and went solo] that he would take the leader's jersey with my losing the minimum amount of time. That was what happened so actually, it was a successful stage looking ahead to our overall goal. On the final, I kept a controlled pace. I think we got the maximum out of the Team today and luckily, for me, other guys wanted to control and I could follow them for the most part and only use the minimum amount of power.
I didn't want to lose the jersey by any cost but I also didn't want to kill myself to keep it. Arguably tomorrow is more important and can make bigger differences than today. We wanted to lose the jersey to a guy who I believe I can beat in the TT. Let's see, Felix looks strong but I still believe I have a better time trial.
Remco is still up there and even though he was maybe dropped a couple of times today, I know he is a smart rider and he also did some strong pulls today so I would say he really is the one I really need to watch out for. Saying that, we didn't get to go easy behind Felix so chapeau, to him. Hopefully he used a match more than me though.
I felt my legs a little bit today after my efforts yesterday but not as much as I thought I would which I think is a good sign but still, I felt them but that's probably normal after a good, hard day like yesterday.