Wippert sprints to breakthrough win in NZ

Dutchman Wouter Wippert has claimed Drapac Professional Cycling’s first stage victory of the 2014 season, winning Stage 2 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

Wippert had just days to prepare for his debut with the Professional Continental team, rushed into the five-man squad after Ben Johnson was hit by a car towing a caravan on Sunday morning while training.

Wippert, 23, won the bunch sprint by half a bike length from Daniel Klemme (Synergy Baku) and Brenton Jones (Avanti Racing) in a time of 3:08:34. Drapac’s other four riders at the event, Malcolm Rudolph (9th), Adam Phelan (13th), Jai Crawford (32nd) and Floris Goesinnen (37th) all finished in the front split. Stage 1 winner Michael Vink (Budget Forklifts) continues to lead the General Classification with Phelan the best-placed Drapac rider 14 seconds in arrears.

“It’s a win for the team today,” said Wippert. “All of my new teammates have been there for me since I joined Drapac. After such a great result today, things can only get better and better.”

Goesinnen set the tone for Drapac early in the piece, making sure he was in every attack after GPM’s Chris Jory escaped in an early solo move. Goesinnen was finally in a late escape with three other riders which was eventually brought back with around 20km remaining in the 172.2km stage.

Wippert, a former stage winner at the Tour de l’Avenir explained that the team provided a “perfect lead-out” – a claim backed by Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels.

“The boys decided between themselves that Wouter was our guy,” Vogels explained. “They did an amazing lead-out, with Phelan hitting out with 1000 metres to go timing it to perfection, then Malcolm who was calling the shots went with about 500 to go and Wouter just hit them down the left-hand side to win the stage. He was just really pumped.

“First real road race for the year and he wins it!”

The New Zealand Cycle Classic continues on Friday.

Drapac results snapshot –

Stage 2:
1. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 3:08:34
9. Malcolm Rudolph (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
13. Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
32. Jai Crawford (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
37. Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling

General Classification after Stage 2:
1. Michael Vink (NZl) Budget Forklifts 3:14:47
10. Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:14
26. Jai Crawford (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:20
37. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:26
38. Malcolm Rudolph (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
42. Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:29

Team Classification:
1. Budget Forklifts 9:44:42
6. Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:39


Drapac’s Dutch recruit, sprinter Wouter Wippert. © Mark Gunter

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