Soudal Quick-Step’s rider is second overall after two stages.
A great acceleration out of a select favourites group with a shade under 200 meters to go brought Ilan Van Wilder mere centimeters from what would have been a well-deserved maiden victory in the pro ranks, only for the young Belgian to be pipped by Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post), who darted up the left side of the road 80 meters from the finish and threw his bike over the line as Ilan was preparing to celebrate his success.
It was the 23-year-old’s second podium of the season, after the one in Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, and it came following a five-hour ride in the saddle on a day that comprised four classified climbs and culminated with Alto da Foia, southern Portugal’s highest point. Prior to the battle on Foia, where the favourites had to face a strong headwind inside the last 1500 meters, Kasper Asgreen was among those involved in the pace-setting, doing a top job in positioning his teammate in the run-in to the climb.
Despite the narrow defeat, Van Wilder was quite upbeat at the end of the stage: “I came short today, but when you are in the finale of a race which could bring your first pro win, these things can happen. Kasper was great to put me in a good position, and after he peeled off, I just followed the others and waited to make my move. I went with 200 meters to go and looking back I’m convinced it was the way to do it.”
“A good result in the general classification is my goal here, but it’s difficult to say how things will pan out over the next couple of days. For the moment, we will focus on helping Fabio on Friday, when there should be another opportunity for the sprinters. Then we will see how things will go during the weekend, when we have Malhão and the time trial”, added Ilan.
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