Drapac Pro Cycling enters its second Tour Down Under with the objective of winning stages having been chief animators of the race last year. Their man for the flat stages is Wouter Wippert and the 24-year-old will start the 133km stage one from Tanunda to Campbelltown confident of a good result after placing third at the People's Choice Classic on Sunday night.
"Yeah it does, I felt pretty good before the race and it worked out well with the team," Wippert told Cyclingnews of what his third place means for the week of racing ahead. "We worked well together and we stayed in the right positions. I did what I had to do in the last kilometre and it gives me good confidence for the rest of the week."
Wippert will have the chance to go head-to-head with Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), who won a second straight People's Choice Classic, again on stage one but is hoping to be the rider raising his arms in celebration.
"The first, second, fourth and sixth stages I am targeting as possibly they will finish in a bunch sprints with a big group," he said of his aim of the week. "Those stages are the big goal for me, and the team as well. Those four stages are all circled in in red [for the win.]
"The first stage would be nice to win as you get the jersey and it is the first 'real' WorldTour race for me. That would be amazing but at the end of the race, it doesn't matter which stage I won.
"It's going to be the only WorldTour race of the season for me. It would be one of the best wins of the year if it happens."
Besides Kittel, Wippert identified several rivals for the sprints, explaining that "there are "a few guys who can take the wins this week depending a bit on the a bit on the stage," he said.
"[Heinrich] Haussler is in good shape at the moment. Lampre is here and [Giacomo] Nizzolo (Trek) will be good as well."
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