One of newly-upgraded Drapac Professional Cycling team's key signings, Wouter Wippert has started his 2014 season in style. Today he won stage two of the New Zealand Cycle Classic in a sprint.
Two years ago, Wippert won a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir and placed 7th at the U23 World championships. Riding for the Lotto-Belisol U23 team, the Dutchman confirmed his talent with several good results in 2012: He achieved a stage win in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and a podium place at the European championships (open for under-23 riders only), and was rewarded with a stagiaire contract with the Belgian program's WorldTour squad.
He reached the podium in the 1.1-ranked GP Stad Zottegem and later a 9th place at the U23 World championships in Valkenburg, but couldn't convince the team management to hand him a full-time contract.
Riding for Continental team 3M for 2013, Wippert went without a win last year. He still was to find in the top-ten regularly, though; and he signed with Drapac Professional Cycling for 2014, becoming one of the team's two Dutch riders.
A late replacement after Ben Johnson's crash in training, Wippert was unfazed and won the sprint in Palmerston North ahead of Daniel Klemme (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) and Brenton Jones (Avanti Racing Team). Prologue winner Michael Vink (Budget Forklifts) keeps the overall leader's jersey.
Drapac sports director Henk Vogels said to the team website: “The boys decided between themselves that Wouter was our guy. They did an amazing lead-out, and Wouter just hit them down the left-hand side to win the stage. He was just really pumped.”
“It’s a win for the team today,” Wippert added himself. “All of my new teammates have been there for me since I joined Drapac. After such a great result today, things can only get better and better.”
New Zealand Cycle Classic stage 2 result:
1. Wouter Wippert - Drapac Professional Cycling 3:08:34
2. Daniel Klemme - Synergy Baku Cycling Project
3. Brenton Jones - Avanti Racing Team
4. Theodore Yates - Satalyst Giant Racing Team
5. Thomas Scully - NZCT New Zealand National Team
6. Graham Briggs - Rapha Condor JLT
7. Michael Fitzgerald - Satalyst Giant Racing Team
8. Patrick Shaw - Satalyst Giant Racing Team
9. Malcolm Rudolph - Drapac Professional Cycling
10. James Williamson - Signmakers Cycling Team
Michael Vink (Budget Forklifts) continues to lead overall.
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