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“I am not the first one to lose a sprint against him (Kittel), but I hope by the end of the week I can say I won one against him. It's going to be a hard week. Today we got the podium, so the next step is to try to win a stage.&rd...

Photo: Sirotti








18.01.2015 @ 18:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wouter Wippert of Drapac Professional Cycling grabbed third in a star-packed field at tonight’s People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide’s East End. The criterium is the prelude to the Santos Tour Down Under.  Marcel Kittel repeated his success at the People’s Choice Classic with Juan Jose Lobato (ESP) of Movistar taking second.


The 51km race was fast from the start. Numerous jumps were made in the first few laps, however none stuck. Australians Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Calvin Watson (Trek Factory Racing) joined Peter Kennaugh (Sky) and Dario Cataldo (Astana) in a break that went away early in the 30-lap race. The break was caught within 9 laps to go and the jockeying for sprint team positions began.


“Tonight was the first time we raced together as a team and it is different than in training. The team got me right where I needed to be and we all worked very well together, “Wippert said. “This gives us some trust for the week.”


“In a race like that, it’s hard to execute a plan perfectly, especially with it being the first race of the season. We did well. I knew the guys would start to get swamped late in the race so it was important to keep Graeme and Wouter as fresh as we could for the final laps. The boys all did well. It’s a different race to a normal stage but a great example of the professionalism of Graeme and Travis and the team,” Sports Director Tom Southam said.


“I think we are working well together as a team and have a good chance to be in the front this week. Good start,” Wippert added.


“The team put me in front with five laps to go and from the last corner, it was just go, nothing to lose,” he explained. “I came fast, but not fast enough. 

“I am not the first one to lose a sprint against him (Kittel), but I hope by the end of the week I can say I won one against him. It's going to be a hard week. Today we got the podium, so the next step is to try to win a stage.”


Graeme Brown was also positive about the team’s execution in tonight’s race.


“I can’t complain at all. There are massive positives to take from tonight. We were where we needed to be. My role is to keep all the stress in front of me and to make no stress behind me. I make the decisions and trusting me to make those decisions, hopefully saves Wippert’s energy so hopefully he has that 1% more needed at the line. Tonight was good and it was good to be out there as a team.”


Brown is the seasoned veteran on the team and happily takes the leadership role.


“I drive the train, both from speed and from experience. I am here to teach the young kids what I can. There are a few things I can tell the boys to make their race easier, to save their energy,” Brown said.


The Santos Tour Down Under begins Tuesday. The stage starts in Tanunda and travels through the vineyards, ascendsChecker Hill before a speedy decent towards the finish line in Campbelltown.



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