The 20-year-old Belgian finished 14th, 4:07 behind Britain’s Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers) and was unhappy to suffer problems in his final race of the season and realise he is losing time to his rivals due to aerodynamic inferiority.
“After ten kilometres my shifter came loose and I was immediately changed bikes. But the spare bike turned out to be completely out of order. I came here to learn. Then it would be nice if my bikes were in order…” Uijtdebroeks told Het Nieuwsblad in frustration.
Uijtdebroeks confirmed his status as one of the best young riders in the peloton in 2023. He won the Tour de L’Avenir in 2022 and was sixth at the Tour de Romandie, seventh at the Tour de Suisse and eighth at the Vuelta a España on his Grand Tour debut.
Uijtdebroeks revealed he is likely to ride the Giro d’Italia in 2024, with new team leader Primož Roglič targeting the Tour de France. He knows he and Bora-Hansgrohe have to work to improve his time trialing.
“It’s something we [Bora-Hansgrohe] really need to improve,” Uijtdebroeks said.
“I have the power. Here with my 65 kilos, I pedal almost 400 watts on average over an hour. However, the entire set-up needs to be fine-tuned, because we just lose a lot with that.”
Uijtdebroeks is keen to lower his CdA (coefficient of aerodynamic drag – the lower it is, the more aerodynamic a rider and their equipment is) closer to that of compatriot Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep), who finished second at the Chrono des Nations and fellow young prospect Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates).
“We will have two time trials at the Giro. We really don’t have any more time to lose,” he said.
“This winter we will have to spend a lot of time in the wind tunnel to finally get my position a bit better.
“The planning for this winter has yet to be drawn up, but it seems obvious to me that there is work to be done for the team. It would be stupid if there wasn’t.”
Uijtdebroeks is under contract with Bora-Hansgrohe for 2024, with his future beyond that still to be decided.
GCN reported Lid-Trek and Ineos Grenadiers have both shown interested in the talented young Belgian but Bora-Hansgrohe are also keen to keep Uijtdebroeks after he came through their development programme and junior team.
“I’m not really thinking about it yet,”…