Tom-Jelte Slagter can go on and add further titles to his Tour Down Under crown, says Yanto Barker
Last Updated: 27/01/13 11:26am
Tom-Jelte Slagter can go on and win further major races after defying expectations to become the first Dutch rider to win the Tour Down Under, says Yanto Barker.
Slagter, 23, finished with an overall time of 18:28:32" - 17 seconds clear of second-placed Javier Moreno after avoiding trouble in the sixth and final stage, in Adelaide, which was won by German Andre Greipel.
"I think potentially Tom-Jelte can [win other big races]. He's shown that he can do it here, so he can do it again. I'd be keen to see how he develops throughout the season."
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas ended up on the podium in third spot, but Barker told Sky Sports that the day belonged to rookie Slagter and the Blanco team.
"I think he's surprised himself a little bit," said Barker, a professional cyclist with Team UK Youth.
"Expectations weren't hugely high for him. He talked about having a top 10 but to come out with a win is obviously a big step up.
"I think potentially he can [win other big races]. He's shown that he can do it here, so he can do it again. I'd be keen to see how he develops throughout the season.
"Blanco have done a really good job; it looks as though they've got a good team - strong and cohesive enough to do something similar in the next few races. Hopefully a sponsor will pick them up and they'll have a proper sponsor on the jersey for the next races.
"I think they are well positioned, they have a lot of structure in place to be able to draw on the youngsters and bring them through. They have grass-roots cycling connections and Slagter is actually an example of a person who has been brought through the system and is a winner, ultimately."
No-one could live with Greipel in the race to the line, though, the German sprinting clear of Blanco's Mark Renshaw and Edvald Boasson Hagen, of Team Sky, to claim his 100th career stage win and his 14th success at the Tour Down under.
"It was an enthralling race from the very beginning," said Barker. "The flag went down and groups went away. There was no pause, no hesitation in the attacks and they started from the beginning with RadioShack trying to defend the positions of their leading rider, unfortunately to no avail.
"Every team had a different tactic. There were four or five teams all trying to play their part and gain their advantage - RadioShack, Sky, Lotto - just to name a few, all fighting really hard for that position. It was exciting to watch.
"Greipel showed himself to be the strongest man out there. Mark Renshaw started the sprint early but he came from two or three metres back so when Greipel does open the taps, first of all he's got slipstream and secondly, he's been sprinting for one or two seconds less, which is obviously to his advantage.
"He's so strong because he's got strong arms, a strong core, a strong back - which is key to delivering power to the pedals. It doesn't happen unless you've got all of those elements in place and he has, so much more than anyone else.
"The terrain in Australia suits him and he enjoys knowing that this preparation works for him further on into the season. So he's full of confidence; he has past seasons to look back on and analyse what he did right and what he did wrong, and ultimately improve on that every year."