Another impressive performance by the young Dane. Tomorrow, the final and decisive act of the race
Skjelmose proved to be a man of his word. He had promised to give battle every day to achieve the best possible result in the GC of Itzulia Basque Country and today, in the fifth and penultimate stage, he gave a clear proof of it.
At the finish in Amorebieta, Skjelmose placed 3rd from a reduced group sprint of 22 riders, behind Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Bagioli (Soudal-Quick-Step). An important result for Mattias, not only for the stage but also for the general classification. Thanks to the 4″ gained at the finish and an extra 2″ snatched in the intermediate sprint, Mattias was able to move from seventh to third place.
The situation sees him on the podium, 32″ behind Tour de France champion Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and 19″ behind Landa (Bahrain). Behind him, Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) in fourth with the exact same time, followed by Sobrero (Jayco) and Izagirre (Cofidis) at 2″. The rest of the top ten is then packed within 3 seconds. A situation that will make tomorrow’s final stage in Eibar, the Queen Stage, super exciting.
“It depends on how my legs feel tomorrow. Honestly, today I didn’t have a great feeling. I had a kind of bad day, but in the end it turned quiet out well,” said Mattias.
“So far I’m achieving one of my biggest results in a stage race, so at least keeping the position where I am now is definitely a goal for tomorrow. Of course, we always race for higher, but sometimes if you’re not ready to get close to the sun, you can eventually burn yourself. Tomorrow everything can happen. I want to stay calm and look for the most concrete goal tomorrow, that is not losing time.”
“We’re all very close in the top ten. My main goal will be following the wheel of the best riders as long as possible. Then, I know to look to the ones who’ll try to overtake me. I think a very hard fought stage since the beginning is awaiting us. I expect several teams will try to isolate Vingegaard. Considering how strong he showed to be, that’s the only option that his contenders have to put him in trouble. It’s gonna be an explosive stage.”