Tom-Jelte Slagter (Belkin) believes he is on course for the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy, after taking the opening King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of Alberta in Canada.
Having recently been confirmed as part of the Netherlands squad to tackle the World Championships later this month, Slagter is happy with his progress thus far.
"I didn't think I could win the time trial, so I decided to focus on the climb. I really went for it and it paid off," explained the 24-year-old.
"This jersey makes it an extra nice day. It's good for my confidence. Going to the World's was a goal," he continued.
Slagter started the season with a victory at the Tour Down Under and since then has remained a consistent performer for the Belkin squad. Youth and relative inexperience should rule Slagter out as a top-line contender for the rainbow jersey, but his mix of climbing and sprinting abilities mean he remains an outside chance.
Hypotheticals aside, Slagter will continue his build up to the Championships by defending his KOM jersey in Alberta and then race the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal WorldTour races later in the month.
"We're going to defend this jersey in the days to come … with the jersey on my shoulders, I've got something to compete for here in Alberta. It will be a good preparation for the races to come."