Visma | Lease a Bike reflects in Switzerland: "The best Kelderman has to offer' and "The Uijtdebroeks process" Cycling

Visma | Lease a Bike reflects in Switzerland: "The best Kelderman has to offer' and "The Uijtdebroeks process"

Visma | Lease a Bike reflects in Switzerland: "The best Kelderman has to offer' and "The Uijtdebroeks process"

Visma | Lease a Bike has completed the preparatory races for the Tour de France. Matteo Jorgenson was the team's top finisher at second place in the Critérium du Dauphiné, while in the Tour of Switzerland, Wilco Kelderman claimed ninth place, pulling his weight for the team. Sports director Marc Reef reflected on this latest race in a conversation with

Marc, how do you feel about concluding this Tour of Switzerland?

"We had hoped for more in terms of the general classification. We really came here aiming for a podium, but it ended up being a ninth place. Of course, there were some factors that didn’t help, but we also have to acknowledge that the competition was better and that this is where we stand right now."

There has been some criticism about Cian Uijtdebroeks' difficulties n the stage race in Belgium.

"I think it's a process. We've started together and are still getting to know each other, both as people and as cyclists. We've been working hard with Cian, but you can't underestimate what happened over the winter. We didn’t sign a long-term contract for nothing; we want to achieve long-term success, and these kinds of moments are part of that journey.

It’s not like you can just press a button and bam, it's there. It involves the whole team, the coach, everyone together. We need to get better integrated, and we are on the right track with this process, which these moments ultimately contribute to."

We are also talking about a young guy in his first year, mainly in major races.

"We saw that he was performing at a very high level in the Giro. Okay, he eventually had to withdraw, and that’s a measure. On the other hand, it is a fact that if you look at the scoreboard, it’s been a less successful year than last season."

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Visma | Lease a Bike reflects in Switzerland: "The best Kelderman has to offer' and "The Uijtdebroeks process"

Team Director Reef sees Kelderman reach high level in Switzerland

Wilco finishes ninth. I assume that he has secured his place for the Tour now?

"We haven't made a decision on that yet and will do so early next week, after we've had internal discussions. Only then can we comment."

Let me put it this way: do you think he's ready for the Tour?

"He has shown a very high level here. He fell during the finish on the Gotthard, but ultimately he rode a very strong race on his own afterwards. He picked up many riders and limited the damage. The next day he had a tough moment, but after that, it's gotten better each day. I think he finishes the race feeling great."

Looking at his power output: is he near top form?

(Without hesitation) "Yes, Wilco is showing a very high level. Right now, it's the best he has in him. He's had a training camp at altitude, this race... now it's about recovering and then we'll see if he goes to the Tour or not."

Overall, how high was the level in this Tour of Switzerland?

"Definitely, that's also feedback from our guys. We see what our men are doing and they still aren't up there with the leaders in the race. UAE-Team Emirates with Yates and Almeida clearly stands out, we have to acknowledge that."

Ben Tulett was also communicated as a leader for the general classification. How did his race go?

"On the Gotthard, it quickly became clear it wasn’t working, and from that point, he dedicated himself to supporting the other two. He also improved each day and ultimately finished with a good time trial, so in that regard, we all finish this tour well."

Ben, like Cian, is new to the team. How would you assess his first half-year?

"He showed a very high level in Tirreno-Adriatico and then fell ill in the Basque Country. Then he also crashed in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which kept him out for a while. Between Tirreno and here, he hasn't raced, and that's been a long time. So, he needs a bit more to get fully up to speed."

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