Two weeks after claiming his first victory in a UCI category 1 race (stage 3 of the Tour de Taiwan), Dutchman Wouter Wippert of Drapac continued his show in Asia as he won the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional criterium on Friday at the F1 Pit Building ahead of Rico Rogers of local team OCBC Singapore and Graham Briggs from Rapha Condor JLT.
The numbers made the difference between the two Australian teams as Orica-GreenEdge was only represented by Aidis Kruopis who rode Dwars door Vlaanderen in Belgium on Wednesday, flew back to South East Asia twenty days after winning the points classification of Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia but remained in Singapore for twelve hours only prior to heading back to Europe. Drapac was fully committed to winning on the Asia scene again.
Floris Goesinnen, Bernard Sulzberger and Jonathan Cantwell delivered Wippert in perfect position.
"To win, it was necessary to be in the top three at the last corner", Wippert told Cyclingnews. "According to our plan, Johnny (Cantwell) started the sprint with 450 metres to go, so I could start mine only 200 metres before the line. It was a great effort. I really enjoyed this kind of racing at night. All we do is usually racing with day light. I grew up in Holland with doing crits since I was six years old." Wippert and his Aussie mates were happy to return Down Under with the 12.000 USD of the winner's price.
"Cantwell and I form a good combination", Wippert noticed, "so we'll bring that with us to the Tour of Turkey in one month. Our goal is to be there with the big guns and put myself in the first part of the sprints. Winning a sprint isn't always about being the fastest, it's also about positioning. There's always a chance to win."
Moving to Drapac has revived the once promising career of the Dutchman. The 23-year-old started off with two stage wins of the New Zealand classic. Further back, his record book features stage wins at the 2010 Tour of Slovakia, at the 2011 Tour of Berlin, at the 2011 Tour de l'Avenir (ahead of his compatriot Moreno Hofland (Belkin) who took stage 2 at Paris-Nice this year and the Tour of Hainan overall last year), and at the 2012 Triptyque Monts et Châteaux, all category 2 or U23 international races.
At the 50th Presidential Tour of Turkey from April 27 to May 4, Pro Teams Belkin, Lotto-Belisol, Orica-GreenEdge, Astana, Cannondale, Katusha, Lampre-Merida and Omega Pharma-Quick Step shouldn't underratee the flying Dutchman who is showing his speed in Asia-Pacific this year.