He may no longer be the leader of the UCI WorldTour rankings, but Tom Slagter (Blanco) is heading into his Milan - Sanremo debut with confidence.
The 23-year-old Tour Down Under winner, dropped to second, two points in arrears of Richie Porte (Sky) following his victory at Paris-Nice but Slagter said that he was looking for consistency.
"Last week I was still number one," he said. "If you have a high place in the rankings, you will prove you belong there. With that feeling I race Milan-Sanremo."
Slagter, in his third season as a professional, will be racing La Primavera for the first time but is well-suited to the parcours.
"The short but steep climbs suit me," he said. Slagter did reconnaissance of the last 200km a few weeks ago and noted that it would be a hot pace to the Passo del Turchino and it was important to be towards the front of the race.
"In the Tour Down Under, the Tour du Haut-Var and Strade Bianche there was those selective climbs and in those races I rode really well.
"I admit that Milan-Sanremo of a different caliber, but with the Tirreno-Adriatico in the legs, I am also a little stronger."
Joining Slagter on the start line in Milan will be Maarten Tjallingii, Paul Martens, Mark Renshaw, Lars Petter Nordhaug, David Tanner, Tom Leezer and Maarten Wynants. According to Blanco sports director Nico Verhoeven, the team will have options dependsing on how the race pans out.
"If during one of the climbs a small group goes off the front, we have Tom Slagter Jelte as a good candidate," he explained. "If it turns into a sprint with a large group we have the support for Mark Renshaw."
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