Van Wilder finishes top 3 in Algarve
Ilan Van Wilder became the seventh different rider in the history of the team to climb on the final podium of the Volta ao Algarve – a stepping stone in the career of the 22-year-old Belgian, who took his first ever top 3 in a stage race at the end of a hard week of racing during which he produced a solid all-round display.
Going into the final day of the Portuguese event – a 24.4km individual time trial – Ilan knew he had to ride a strong time trial in order to defend his place on the podium, where he was sitting courtesy of an impressive ride on the Alto do Malhão, and didn’t disappoint. Riding against many pure specialists, World and European Champions of the discipline, Van Wilder demonstrated his ITT capabilities as he navigated the course around Lagoa handsomely, rolling over the line in seventh place, a result which helped him conclude third overall.
“I did a good time trial. There’s still room for improvement, of course, but that comes with more training. I was a bit nervous, but remained focused and I am happy with what I achieved, especially seeing how many strong opponents were here. If you had told me before this week that I would end on the podium at the end of the race I wouldn’t believe it. I already knew that this kind of stage races suit me and I love riding for the general classification. I am happy with this result after two difficult years. Now I will recover and enjoy some time at home, before heading to France for the Ardèche and Drôme Classic.”
It was a good day also for two other members of Soudal Quick-Step: Kasper Asgreen took home the mountain classification, a confidence-boosting result before the start of the Classics, while Rémi Cavagna came close to his first victory of the year, finishing runner-up for just a handful of seconds.
“I came to Algarve to try to do well in the GC and to try to win the time trial. I trained a lot in the mountains so I thought trying for the overall would be possible. Saturday I went for the stage win but got caught before the final climb, so I moved my focus to the ITT. The course was nice and pretty technical, and although it didn’t suit me, I had fun and went again for a good result. I’m happy to be back at this level and already looking forward to the next races”, Rémi explained.
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