The young Dane continues strong of positive results with another strong performance
Mattias Skjelmose’s star shines again in France. After his solid performances in the two stage races, Etoile de Besseges and Tour des Alps Maritimes et Du Var, the 22-year-old Dane from Trek-Segafredo claims an honorable 3rd place in the Ardèche Classic, the first one-day race of his season.
The course – demanding and fast – and those who were ahead of him on the podium, winner Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) and Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), highlighted how strong his performance was.
Looking to the riders who finished in front of me, the way they rode, third place is definitely the best result we could get today
The two French riders fought it out for success in a two-man sprint. Thirty seconds later, Skjelmose did the same beating Lafay (Cofidis) 10″ ahead of the next chasing group of top riders group.
There was a sort of common desire within the peloton to minimize the size of the group, kilometer after kilometer. And we made a big contribution to make a strong selection in the second part of the race. At the end, it was only about legs. The climbs were hard, there was headwind after the final climb, especially in the last 3kms. Two key factors that made the difference.
I was waiting for Alaphilippe’s attack, he showed right from the beginning that he was on a superior level today. I was expecting his move but, to be honest, I wasn’t explosive enough to follow. It’s fair to say that him and Gaudu had an extra gear compared to me and the rest of the top riders. That’s it. The podium made me happy and proud to be part of this team. I think we rode really well, we proved again the good feeling we have within the team. Everyone is ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team, that’s a key factor to the continuity of our results.
Ardèche Classic was once again confirmation of Skjelmose’s good form. A common trait that has marked his 2023 performances is the approach and management of the most hectic moments of the race.
Smart racing was necessary to save energy and play the remaining chance for the podium. That’s what I did and it worked well. I try to always learn something when I face races. The past years were important to learn how to be patient. The first wins I took this year gave me more confidence. And then, I don’t forget the experience that my oldest teammates convey. Everything combined is making me a smarter rider all the time.