Mattias Skjelmose also cements 2nd overall in the Tour de l'Ain
Mattias Skjelmose finished the Tour de l’Ain in second overall, coming into the final day six seconds in arrears and remaining six seconds behind winner Guillaume Martin at the finish after a tactical battle over a tough final stage – and a stressful jersey change mid-race!
“The plan was that we should put on the pressure today as it was the last opportunity, and I was showing really good legs yesterday,” explained Skjelmose. “We tried to minimize the work we had to do until the downhill of the second-to-last KOM climb, and then push it full gas on the downhill and into the last climb to try and gain time on Martin.
“And then the zipper broke on the green jersey, and it was at a really bad moment, just before the last KOM climb, but we got it [changed] on the downhill. Markus (Hoelgaard) was really good at bringing me back, but it cost me a lot of energy since Cofidis went full gas at the bottom of the climb and I was at the back of the peloton. I managed to get back to the front, but I don’t know if that cost me the final legs. We had lost Markus and Thibau (Nys) there, and luckily they came back and did a really good pull on the flat and downhill.”
Mattias’ chance on stealing the overall from Martin forged up the road with three riders finishing ahead of the GC contenders group and scooping up the time bonuses at the line.
Skjelmose arrived with the GC rivals and sprinted to 4th place, but with Martin also arriving in the same time, the top spot was sealed.
“Brambi (Gianluca Brambilla) and Julian (Bernard) put me in perfect position for the climb and did a really good job there setting a good tempo. I tried a few times, but I was missing a little bit – I made a good selection with only four guys, but for me it was only about getting rid of Martin.
“With the bonus seconds [available], it would have been a lot closer but that’s how cycling is sometimes. I am happy that I am getting closer and closer to the win. And again, the team worked perfectly; it’s always a pleasure to ride in a team like this. Now I am just looking forward to the Tour of Denmark.”
Skjelmose clinched the best young rider and points jersey, and Trek-Segafredo added top team in the teams classification to sweeten the booty after three days in France. A just reward for the team effort and a solid boost in confidence for young Skjelmose.