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Slagter made a name for himself by winning the first WorldTour race of the 2013 season. Cor Vos photo.

Slagter Wins Tour Down Under!

January 27, 2013

Team Blanco rider Tom-Jelte Slagter wrapped up an impressive season opening win at the Santos Tour Down Under over the weekend, taking the lead with a second-place finish in Saturday’s Stage 5, then defending his lead in Sunday’s final stage. Adding to Blanco’s success was Australian sprinter Mark Renshaw, who powered to a podium finish on his Giant Propel Advanced SL at the end of the final stage in Adelaide City, Australia.

Slagter’s surprise win at the opening event of the 2013 WorldTour was a perfect start to the season for the new Blanco team. It was a week of firsts for the 23-year-old Dutchman: He scored his first pro stage win in Stage 3 when he outsprinted world champion Philippe Gilbert at the end of a 139km stage from Unley to Stirling. And on Sunday he added his first pro stage race win to his résumé.

“I’ve never won a race like this,” Slagter told Cyclingnews.com at the finish. “It’s still a long season and I want to keep this level but the start couldn’t be better, for the team and for me.”

The winning move for the overall Tour Down Under crown came on the Stage 5 finish atop Old Willunga Hill. Slagter chased down Australian Simon Gerrans in the final meters to finish second and take the lead on his Giant TCR Advanced SL.

“[The win] comes from such great teamwork,” Slager said. “I’m really proud to show this team to the world. It looks like the real beginning of my career even though the season is long.”

Meanwhile, Renshaw, racing the all-new Propel Advanced SL aero road bike, turned in two podium finishes in Australia: He was third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 6.