Type of Rider: Stage Racer
Biggest Success: 1st Tour Alsace
Team/Club 2010: Rabobank Continental Team
Team 2011: Rabobank Continental Team
Best Mock List Ranking: new
What once seemed unlikely, today is quite normal. Each year there is at least one Junior who impresses in Under 23 and small UCI races. 2008 it was John Degenkolb, last year there were Phinney, Sagan and
Kwiatkowski who were among the best of the Under 23 class. This year it was Wilco Kelderman who impresses as a first year-Under 23 rider in the Mock List. And as he is ranked 4th in doing so, he is light years ahead of all former first-year-riders. For the other above-mentioned riders one could almost have expected an explosive start in the Under 23 category, because they were star riders in the Junior category, unlike Wilco Kelderman. He was top on international level, but not a star rider.
Notable for the Dutchman´s Junior career is that his first year was stronger than his second. In his second year he could impress most of all in Germany: at the internationally well respected stage races Trofeo Karlsberg, Münsterland Tour and Drei Etappen Rundfahrt Frankfurt he finished 10th, 8th and 1st overall, also winning a stage in the Frankfurt race.
After his Junior years the rider from Amersfoort joined the Rabobank Continental Team. With him a strong gang of Dutch Juniors did the same: Jasper Bovenhuis, Nick van der Lijke, Barry Markus and notably Moreno Hofland. While none of this riders with the exception of Markus couldn´t show any strong results, Kelderman succeeded even early in the season.
In March he started at the Istrian Spring Trophy (2.2) in Croatioa. There the best riders of former Yugoslavia traditionally meet with some Italians and Ex-Czechoslovacians for a first contest. Already in the prologue the man from Utrecht finished 2nd on the same time as winner Vrecer. In the next tough stages that were decisive for the overall classification, the Dutchman was 4th and 6th and finished 5th overall. It was immediately evident that this was a rider who had no problems with the transition from Junior to Elite racing. This impression was reinforced two weeks later at the Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux (2.2). A third place in the time trial behind Bol and Lindgren, but ahead of Phinney and Degenkolb resulted in a third place overall for the then 19-year-old.
Another week later a 4th place in the time trial of the Circuit des Ardenens (2.2) brought an 8th place overall. Until June he collected a lot of fine results: 8th at the Under 23 race of former Henninger Turm (1.2U), 5th at the Scandinavian Race (1.2), 9th at the Rogaland GP (1.2), 5th at the GP Ringerike (2.2). But also a weakness showed: Kelderman can´t sprint, and without sprinting abilities winning becomes difficult.
So the only option then to win a mass-start race is to finish solo, or a finish at the Ballon d´Alsace, where only Hubert Schwab could keep up with Kelderman. The second scenario happened in August after a two-month-break at the Tour d´Alsace (2.2). The Dutchman not only won the stage, but also the overall classification. He thus secured his first two Pro wins.
Despite of his obvious class the training partner and friend of Dutch cross hope Lars van der Haar will spend at least one more year with the Rabobank Continental Team. So it is to expect that Kelderman will dominate his category next year. For his opponents the hope is that his second year again is weaker, as was his second year at the Junior level. In each case the Rabobank CT will have a strong team with Kelderman, Bol and the afore-mentioned world-class Juniors.
nominated by all, written by ogkempf, translated by bugno