Wouter Wippert left nothing to question today at the line, taking a sounding victory in Stage 6 at the Santos Tour Down Under, earning Drapac Professional Cycling its' first WorldTour Victory.
After two, third-places earlier this week. Wippert edged out Australian National road champion, Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) and Belgian Boris Vallee (Lotto-Soudal).
“We did it. The team put it together. The team rode all day in the front. I knew I had to wait a bit as I learned that on Friday,” Wippert said. “The last few pedals I just focused on myself and nothing else.”
Earlier this week, Wippert was third in the sprint at People’s Choice Classic and then third again on Friday at Stage 4.
“It was a really jumpy race. I just kept trying to remain in control,” said Wippert. “The crash threw some of the guys off but we remained calm.”
After a few breakaways during the 90km stage, the field came together for the much anticipated bunch sprint. With the entire course lined with thousands of cycling fans, the atmosphere was sailing high. A crash occurred on the second to last lap of the circuit and shelled the field apart. A group of about 35 riders came out the front end of the crash and were set for the final lap.
“I was sitting on Lampre’s wheels, they were on the left and Orica- GreenEdge was on the right, I was sitting in the middle and Graeme picked me up and brought me to the perfect position. I stayed out of the wind and just followed Graeme,” Wippert added. “We train to do this and it paid off.”
Tom Southam, Sports Director, remained calm all week and worked to get the team smoothly through the week. Southam
“I am really pleased for the boys, and the whole team. Last year we were aggressive, but I wanted the guys to actually come away with a real result. We came into this race with a plan to have a go at the sprint stages as it was our best chance to win a stage. Even though it took us all week to get it right, the boys knew that they had to remain patient, as they had three opportunities to win,” Southam said. “They really pulled together this afternoon and it showed in the result.”
Team manager Jonathan Breekveldt felt the week brought to the forefront again the team’s philosophy.
“During the team presentation on Monday I said that we have been able to grow and expand the team’s different programs year on year. Today, the team shows growth again with its first ever WorldTour win. We worked really hard for this from November or actually last year’s Tour Down Under on and to get the sporting result we aimed for is magnificent. I am very proud of the team, staff and our partners.”
Results Snap Stage 6 Santos Tour Down Under
Classification Results 6 –
1. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling
41. Martin Kohler (Sui) Drapac Professional Cycling 05”
61. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01'06"
75. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01'21"
76. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01'21"
88. Tim Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 03'29"
124. DNS- Travis Meyer
General Classification 5 –
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC 19h15'18"
58. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 19h27'44"
77. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 19h34'10"
98. Martin Kohler (Sui) Drapac Professional Cycling 19h42'39"
102. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 19h46'09"
112. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 19h57'04"
114. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 20h02'13"
Teams Classification 5
1. BMC RACING TEAM 57h48'48"
19. DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 58h17'34"