The young Dane finishes 3rd after setting the benchmark in the time trial in the Tour de Luxembourg
It was a day of thrills and spills for Trek-Segafredo. Our young guns gave brilliant performances, Bauke Mollema slammed into a barrier in a frightening high-speed crash (thankfully, he’s okay), and wily veteran Vincenzo Nibali, unwilling to give all the limelight to his younger teammates, clocked into the top 10.
Without a doubt, Trek-Segafredo helped animate a thrilling race against the clock at the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg.
But amongst all the top performances, the one of young Mattias Skjelmose stood out most (at least for us) after he set the benchmark in the Stage 4 time trial and basked in his first pro hot seat before ultimately finishing in 3rd.
“First of all, I am super happy with the 3rd place after struggling with the TT all year,” exclaimed Skjelmose. “It means a lot! I had a deal with Kim (Andersen, director) that I would go full gas to the first time check and if I was good, then continue, otherwise just spin the legs and be ready for tomorrow. And I was 2nd best at the time check, so I continued, and in the end, it was just a super good time. I had Kim behind me in the car, and he had great communication with me, and I could just do a super TT with him in my ear.”
Mattias has been getting better and better as the season has gone on (his first as a pro), and in the 25.4- kilometer race against the clock, he gave a time trial performance that matched his climbing prowess this year.
The 20-year-old (he turns 21 on September 26) flew across the line, getting the better of his other 20-year-old teammate, Antonio Tiberi, who had set the second-fastest time (by a hair) earlier in the race. Another notable young gun performance.
Afterward, Tiberi said: “I am satisfied, both as a performance and as a result. It’s a quality field here in Luxembourg and looking at my [power] numbers, I can be happy. So far it has been a tough race and a hard-fought one. I’ve felt a bit of fatigue for sure, also because we’re at the end of the season, but overall I’m happy.
“It’s just a shame that I lost time in the first stage, due to a tactical error on my part, otherwise today’s TT could have been even more valuable. However, the condition is there, which is good in view of the next events. I hope to end this season well, that regardless, has been very positive from many points of view.”
Tiberi and Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) clocked almost the same time, with Sweeny a fraction of a second quicker to own the hot seat until Skjelmose decided to set the bar a tad higher.
The Team’s veteran leaders, Bauke Mollema and Vincenzo Nibali, still had to ride, but Bauke’s bid for a top result ended when he flew into the barriers in a corner. He was able to remount and finish the race with team physician Nino Daniele stating afterward, “It was a high-speed crash but, luckily, the consequences are not so bad. Bauke only reported some superficial wounds on the back, right hip, right elbow.”
On course at the same time, Vincenzo Nibali kept his rubber to the ground and clocked two seconds behind his young Italian compatriot, giving the team 3rd, 9th and 10th places for the race.
“I am not sure the parcours suited me, but I know that pacing it just right was important,” continued Skjelmose. “Josu (Larrazabal, Head of Performance) did a really good job of making a pacing plan for me that I almost followed to perfection, and I think that is also why I didn’t lose so much time on the way home like many guys. I actually gained the most time in that part; it was all about pacing today.
“Yeah, I am just super happy. I couldn’t have done more,” he ended.