The young Danish prodigy from the Trek-Segafredo team, Mattias Skjelmose, beat out his adversaries to win the third stage of the 2023 Tour de Suisse, capturing the yellow jersey as the race’s new overall leader.
Triumph on Wet Roads and Steep Slopes
On a rain-slicked route and challenging climbs, Skjelmose displayed exceptional determination and skill. The 22-year-old attacked early on the final steep 10-kilometre climb to Villars-sur-Ollon, and again, with only 600 metres left, dropped his last remaining competitor, Felix Gall of AG2R Citroën Team. The Dane completed the 143.8-kilometer ride between Tafers and Villars-sur-Ollon, and dropped his last remaining challenger, Felix Gall of AG2R Citroen Team, with only 600 metres to go. The Danish cyclist finished the 143.8-kilometer race between Tafers and Villars-sur-Ollon, stealing the lead from Swiss cyclist Stefan Kung. Skjelmose now has a 17-second lead over Remco Evenepoel, the Belgian world champion who is still looking for form after withdrawing from the Giro d’Italia due to COVID.
A Shakeup in the General Classification
The victory marks Skjelmose’s first WorldTour win as a professional and the fifth win of his career. The third stage win came after the day’s breakaway quartet was caught within the final 30 kilometres, leading to an intense last ascent that rearranged the general classification standings. Remco Evenepoel launched an early attack but was overtaken by Skjelmose and Gall. Juan Ayuso of UAE Team Emirates, finishing twelve seconds behind Skjelmose, managed to break away from the chasers to secure third place, just ahead of Evenepoel.
The Road Ahead
The young Dane, who finished second in the Flèche Wallonne in April, described his victory as a “incomparable” achievement. Skjelmose now looks ahead to the rest of the Tour de Suisse, hoping to defend his leader’s jersey as the race progresses. The fourth stage of the tour features three difficult hills spanning 152.5 kilometres between Monthy and Leukerbad. Skjelmose’s prospects appear promising based on his talent and tenacity so far.
The Challenge Awaits in Stage 4
The riders now look towards the impending challenge of stage 4, where teams are expected to strategize to either secure a victory or make up ground in the general classification. Opening with a 24-kilometre start lap, the route initially appears deceptively calm with its predominantly flat terrain for the first 80 kilometres. The stage, however, is not a leisure day, with a vital selection predicted on the way to Crans-Montana. The true challenge awaits riders on the last climb to the finish line in Leukerbad, where they will confront a tough incline through Erschmatt and Albinen.
The stage kicks off from Monthey, the vibrant capital and economic centre of the region. Renowned for its diverse offerings in cultural, sporting, and festive activities, Monthey extends from 405 to 2065 m above sea level, making it an ideal playground for hikers, skiers, runners, and cyclists.
From Monthey, the riders will conclude their journey in Leukerbad, the largest thermal spa area in the Alps. It not only provides a spectacular perspective of the mountain environment, but it also offers a one-of-a-kind reward for road cyclists after an exhausting climb: a relaxing dip in the thermal waters. However, before they can relax, riders must climb 800 metres in 16 kilometres between Susten and Leukerbad. The stage promises to be difficult, with scenic routes providing a tough test of endurance and tenacity for all competitors.