Haut Var – Day 1


Cannondale’s Tom-Jelte Slagter took a daring victory on day 1 of Haut Var, a two-day French tour

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Haut Var – Day 1

Team Press Release

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team enjoyed a victory and a second-place finish on Saturday in two different races, highlighting the team’s ability to perform in both sprint and uphill finishes. Tom-Jelte Slagter took a daring victory at Haut Var, a two-day French tour, 10 minutes after Wouter Wippert finished runner-up to Marcel Kittel in a fast finish at the Tour of Algarve.

At Haut Var, it was a struggle all day due to a rolling profile and a finish circuit that saw a 1-kilometer ramp to the line. “It was a great day. The victory is always nice. I knew the final would suit me. It was all about positioning. I was in good position with five, six kilometers to go, so I could move up. I went over the top in third or fourth, full gas downhill so there was a gap behind me,” said Slagter.

“Once I saw the gap was there, we came into the last kilometer and I thought if I waited they would probably catch us, and you’ll never know what could have happened. I surprised myself a little bit.”  The victory is the second of the season for the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, and they never come easy.

“The road was all day up and down left and right,” said Eric Van Lancker, Cannondale Pro Cycling Team’s sport director at Haut Var. A break went early, and the team did its part to bring the race all together with 15 kilometers to go. The plan all along was to ride for Slagter and Paddy Bevin, but Bevin crashed with 15 kilometers left and had to fight to make contact with the peloton again.

In the end, it was Slagter who took the flowers. Bevin emerged without serious injury. “Tom did a great last kilometer to win the race,” Van Lancker said. “He told me this morning he was in good shape, and he saw the profile, and he said ‘Ok, we try today.’ ”

For Slagter, the win is a validation that he’s beyond the knee injury that hampered his last season. “Last year in this period, I was still trying to get better and better with the injury. I am happy at the moment with the form. Today I showed I can go for the win again. And that’s a great feeling. Completely different than last year,” Slagter said.


Wippert inches closer at Algarve
Wouter Wipper opened up his account at Volta ao Algarve with a fourth place finish against the WorldTour big guns on Wednesday. On Saturday’s stage four, he went two better, sprinting to second in Tavira behind Marcel Kittel (EQS).

“Two steps closer to the first,” said Wippert. “The team did a really good job. The boys kept me out of the wind the whole day, supported me the whole day and believed in me the whole day. I felt really strong.”

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team dedicated the squad in Portugal to supporting Wippert’s efforts in the finale. The 194-kilometer stage had been earmarked for the fast finishers.

“We had two goals today initially,” noted Wipper. “[André] Cardoso wanted to go into the break to try to get the mountain jersey. He was in the first break but it was chased back by Caja Rural. We just missed out on the second break. Three guys went and that was it. Roads blocked. After that team orders were to work for the bunch sprint.”

With 30 kilometers left to race, Wippert followed green argyle to the front of the peloton. “The whole team went to the front,” said Wippert. “I was well-positioned and out of the wind, so I could save a lot of energy. The last 20 kilometers we had a tailwind, so it was a fast run-in.”

The sprint train began to take shape in the final 5 kilometres. “They left me on the front with one-and-a-half to go,” explained Wippert. “I found Marcel Kittel’s wheel.”

Kittel led through the final corner. Wipper followed, braking through the turn. “I had to make up a little bit of a gap, but it was so fast that no one could come around us,” Wippert said. “Once I closed that little gap, I was in the perfect position. Kittel gave me the perfect lead-out, but he was too strong in the last 200 meters, and I couldn’t come around. So second. There was nothing more possible.”



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