Tom-Jelte Slagter is looking to continue the form that saw him win the Tour Down Under in January when he lines up at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Slagter will hold joint leadership of his Blanco team with Bauke Mollema at the Italian race, which starts on Wednesday with a 16.9km team time trial. “Before I didn’t believe that I could do it,” Slagter told Cyclingnews HD in an exclusive interview. “But now it is nice to race against those guys [at Tirreno-Adriatico].”
“I’ve never done the race before, but they changed my programme a little. I will be doing Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo, which are both new races for me. Tirreno has an uphill finish, which is good for me and I hope for a good result.”
The 23-year-old has had his best start to a season to date after winning the general classification at the Tour Down Under. Slagter also beat world champion Philippe Gilbert and Matt Goss to win stage 3. The stage win was his first in his three years as a professional rider.
“It was an incredible feeling. Normally you look up to those guys, so, to beat him was really amazing. Me and Wilco Kelderman went to the Tour Down Under to try and get top 10 in the general classification. I didn’t expect that I could win.”
Slagter’s Blanco team has had a fine start to the season, notching up ten victories already. The tally is more than double what they’d won at this stage last year, under the Rabobank sponsorship. “I think everybody has shown that we can go without Rabobank,” he told Cyclingnews HD. “We are really thankful to them for all of the years, we can’t forget that, but we showed we can go far on our own.”
After his stint in Italy, Slagter will head to Spain for the Tour of the Basque Country before taking on the Ardennes Classics.
Issue 45 of digital magazine Cyclingnews HD is out later today, and features the full exclusive interview with Tom-Jelte Slagter. The issue also looks back on Strade Bianche and the opening stages of Paris-Nice, and previews the Queen Stages of Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, with interactive maps, profiles and start lists.
Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cyclingnews HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.
With over 50 pages packed with new and original content every Wednesday, alongside all the latest reports and results, Cyclingnews HD is the best way to enjoy a roadside seat at all the season’s biggest and best races.