Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek): “I’m in the best shape of my life”

“I could no longer control myself. » Mattias Skjelmose recognizes it: he went through hell on Wednesday on the roads of Flèche Wallonne. Drained by the cold and the rain which fell on the roads of the Belgian classic, the Danish champion was forced to retire. 65 km from the finish, the leader of Lidl-Trek put his foot down, freezing on his bike and unable to stand.

In impressive images, we see him leaving the Arrow in the arms of an assistant carrying him to a car to keep him warm. “I didn’t realize I was hypothermic on the bike, I was shaking,” he told Global Cycling Network.

In the end, of the 174 runners at the start, only 44 crossed the line in time. But the weather should be milder for Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday. The opportunity for Skjelmose to take his revenge.

“I can say, with my hand on my heart, that I am in the best shape of my life,” he says. Honestly, I believe I can be up there on Sunday and fight for the podium,” hopes the 23-year-old rider, who revealed himself last season at the top of the Huy wall by finishing in second place behind Tadej Pogacar . Winner of the Tour de Suisse a few months later, the Dane confirmed in 2024 with a stage victory in Paris-Nice and a 3rd place in the Tour of the Basque Country.

“I see myself on the podium with Tadej (Pogacar) and Mathieu (Van der Poel), but I don’t know the order yet”

Mattias Skjelmose before Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Stirring in the Amstel Gold Race, he finished in 17th place, but his ambitions will be quite different on the Doyenne. After a 9th place in 2023, he wants to get on the podium alongside Mathieu Van der Poel and Tadej Pogacar. “I see myself there with Tadej and Mathieu, but I don’t know the order yet,” imagines the compatriot of Jakob Fuglsang, who dreams of imitating his elder from Israel-Premier Tech, the last Danish winner in Liège in 2019.

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