Soudal Quick-Step’s 23-year-old gained a massive six minutes in the standings.
Ilan Van Wilder was one of the 30-odd riders to book a place in the largest breakaway seen in a race this season, which formed on the roads of Piedmont, the region hosting stage 12 of the race, from Bra to Rivoli.
As expected in such situations, there wasn’t a real concord in the group, but even in these conditions they managed to open a maximum gap of nine minutes over a peloton whose mind was more on Friday’s gruelling stage in the mountains. It came as no surprise that the group fragmented long before the day’s only classified climb, four riders moving clear and putting three minutes into their former companions. Ilan tried to go after them, but his numerous attempts were countered by his opponents.
The cat and mouse game continued on Colle Braida, where the Belgian tried again to get a gap, only for the result to be the same. But Ilan didn’t give up and showed his strength in the sprint, which he won from the group that arrived two minutes behind victor Nico Denz (Bora-hansgrohe), finishing sixth on the stage.
“I had the feeling I was alone today on the road, at one point it was just me against the world. It’s something typical in such a big breakaway. I tried to attack many times, but the others reacted each time. In the end, I won that sprint from pure frustration and I think it was the best possible result. I will now try to recover and hopefully will continue my upward trajectory here”, said Ilan, who is now 16th overall, just three minutes from the top 10.
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