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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Wilco Kelderman says the GC battle ‘doesn’t matter’ to him anymore

Bora-Hansgrohe rider climbed the classification after making stage 12 breakaway but says he's not 'good enough' in the long climbs to return to GC fight.

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GENOVA, Italy (VN) — Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) says that he’s not back in the GC fight at the Giro d’Italia despite taking back more than eight minutes on stage 12.

Kelderman — who started the day over 11 minutes back — got into Thursday’s big-ticket breakaway, which was allowed a lot of time by the peloton as the overall contenders enjoyed a relaxed ride ahead of some sterner stuff at the weekend.

Though he missed the stage-winning move, he still gained a considerable amount of time and jumped to 13th overall at 2:51 behind the current race leader Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo). Despite being very close to returning to the top 10, Kelderman believes he’s no longer in the fight for the overall.

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“It’s still really far. I think you need to be at one minute to be in the GC so for me I’m just not good enough to fight for the GC anymore. I think that Jai [Hindley] and Emu [Buchmann] are in really good shape so I think that they can fight for the podium,” he told reporters in Genova.

Kelderman is a former podium finisher at the Giro d’Italia and he started the race with GC intentions alongside his teammates Hindley and Buchmann, who sit in fifth and ninth overall respectively. However, his tilt at the overall went off the rails during last Sunday’s ride to Blockhaus.

https://twitter.com/BORAhansgrohe/status/1527299162118598659?s=20&t=Ve9OwndE49n4xNpbSIGEUw

The Dutchman lost ground on the descent of the Passo Lanciano, the climb before the Blockhaus finale, and later blamed his disc brakes for causing a mechanical issue that led to him losing time on the other GC contenders.

Despite the possibility of gaining a lot of time, Kelderman said he did not go into the break with the intention of pulling himself back into GC contention.

Kelderman made it into a 24-rider group that formed after some 70 kilometers of aggression. However, he didn’t have the legs to respond to an attack from Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) over the penultimate climb and, despite a long chase with three others, he was unable to get back in contention for the stage win.

In the end, it was Alpecin-Fenix’s Stefano Oldani who took the stage ahead of Rota and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma)

“The GC doesn’t matter for me anymore, I’m just not good enough on the long climbs, I wanted to go for the stage wins, but there were too many guys in the front, and it was too tactical, and we went too late,” he said. “Then, on the climb the front group was too strong for us to catch them back, so I was just riding for fifth place or something.”

“I expected that it would open up a little bit later. I think that Alpecin and Wanty played it very well. We only had one guy in the front group and they had more.”