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“The race exploded very early in the stage. There were attacks all over the place, and with every acceleration, everybody looked to me. At one point I just couldn’t follow anymore.”   

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15.08.2015 @ 23:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wilco Kelderman couldn't hold on to the leader's white jersey at the Eneco Tour in stage 6 on Saturday. In the difficult queen stage finishing in Houffalize, the Team LottoNL-Jumbo leader bravely defended his lead with all he had, but the many attacks by his rivals ultimately proved too much for the 24-year-old Dutchman.

Kelderman limited the damage, and only dropped two spots to remain third overall to keep alive podium hopes with one stage to go. Only Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), who finished alone to capture the lead, and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), who moved into second overall, passed him. The difference between Wellens and Kelderman is 1-17. The Dutchman has 23 seconds on fourth-placed Philippe Gilbert (BMC).   

“I did what I could today, but it was really tough,” Kelderman said. “The race exploded very early in the stage. There were attacks all over the place, and with every acceleration, everybody looked to me. At one point I just couldn’t follow anymore.”   

Kelderman bravely fought his way back into the chase group behind Wellens in the final kilometres after he was dropped.

 

“In one of the descents, I lost touch and I was distanced. It all seemed to go wrong when I hit the wall, but luckily I was able to re-connect with the group after I had a gel. After that, I was able to follow until the line, and now I’m third overall. I plan to keep it that way tomorrow.”   
 

Sports Director Nico Verhoeven saw a spectacular finale around Houffalize.

 

“With 55 kilometres to go, it was already war. Some of our riders had to work earlier than normal, and that was why Wilco got isolated. With his tenth place on the stage and his third position in the overall, he has limited the damage. Tomorrow in Geraardsbergen, when we ride a mini-version of the Tour of Flanders, we will protect Wilco as a team, and try to help him stay fresh as long as possible.”

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