After taking the white jersey as the best young rider on the opening day of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco) has vowed to hold the jersey for as long as possible.
The 23-year-old finished third on the opening stage Champéry behind David Veilleux (Europcar) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) after a challenging first day of racing.
“I knew I had a small chance at this arrival, but I didn’t consider a top five finish possible in this field. Of course wining is better, but this is a good start of the week. Veilleux was too far ahead and Meersman was just a little bit too quick for me.”
Slagter, who won the Santos Tour Down Under earlier the season currently leads the young rider standings from Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar) and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard), but knows that hold the jersey for the duration of the race will be a difficult proposition.
“There’s a long time trial later on, so it will be hard to maintain the lead up until the end, but I’ll try a day-to-day approach and I’m going to defend the jersey with everything I have.”
Blanco’s overall contender for the race, Laurens Ten Dam, finished the stage in the same time as Slagter and the main contenders for GC.
“Everything went according to plan. It was a difficult first stage, but we managed to do well. Tom-Jelte did a good job in the sprint for second place, while our leader Laurens ten Dam was where he belonged, in the first peloton together with all the favourites,” said sports director Merijn Zeeman.