A perfectly paced individual time trial saw Mattias Skjelmose take overall victory at the Tour de Suisse, a huge first WorldTour General Classification win for the young Dane.
A strong second half from the 22-year-old saw Skjelmose pull back time on his closest GC rivals and he stopped the clocked nine seconds behind the stage winner, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and just one second behind Remco Evenepoel (Soudal – Quick-Step) to secure his place on the top step of the podium.
“The plan was to go out a bit cautious and really go hard on the climb. My TT finished on top of the last climb and I think that was the best pacing plan and it put on a show at the end.
I didn’t have a super feeling in the legs but there was power. It was really difficult for me. I was starving when I started the first 10km and was almost 20” behind Remco, but I found something extra and I could finish really well.
Of course it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, a big high with my stage win in Villars-sur-Ollon to a much bigger low with Gino’s death. I wanted to win for Gino, I think everyone today raced for him. I wanted to give something back. Everyone I spoke to said he was the most wonderful person you could ever imagine but sadly I didn’t know him personally but I wanted to give something back to him because he gave so much to a lot of other people.
This win is a breakthrough for me. I had a really good season until now but this is my first step on the really big stage. I’m even more excited for the Tour now, but I also know that the Tour is a whole other level than this: a lot more stress, everybody is in top shape, and I think it’s going to be a really big learning process for me
I’ve been learning, maturing and have had some really good people around me: directors and riders like Mads Pedersen who has taught me a lot about being a good leader. Everything combined has helped with this. [At the start of the week] I told Kim [Andersen, DS] that I believed I could finish on the podium. I think when you go for the podium you can also fight for the win. A lot of things matched up so that I can stand in yellow now.
I’m going to try to do GC in the Tour de France. That’s the plan and I believe I can do a good one, still with the knowledge that it’s a bit untouched territory for me so we will go into it with respect and no pressure.”