Woods, Slagter to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Santos Tour Down Under

The peloton will return to WorldTour racing on Jan. 17 in Adelaide, Australia, for the Santos Tour Down Under 

The race comes at the height of Australian summer and offers little in the way of a smooth transition to racing — those who ride well at TDU have to arrive in absolute form. 

To this end, Cannondale-Drapac is sending a motivated squad Down Under. Tom-Jelte Slagter, winner of TDU general classification in 2013, and Mike Woods, in just his second top level season but a danger man nonetheless, will lead the team in the six-stage race.

Joining Slagter and Woods are Paddy Bevin, Brendan Canty, Will Clarke, Alex Howes, and Tom Van Asbroeck. The race marks the first with Cannondale-Drapac for Canty, Clarke, and Van Asbroeck. The same lineup will also race the People’s Choice Classic on Jan. 15 in Adelaide and again on Jan. 29 at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, now a WorldTour event.

For Woods, the TDU may be a sequel to a script he wrote last year.

“Last year I knew I was in really good form and Jonathan Vaughters told me, ‘we're going to make you the guy for Down Under.’ I was super-stoked about that. In retrospect, that was crazy that JV just was like, "Dude I'm going to give this rookie a shot at a WorldTour race’ with no experience whatsoever, but it panned out awesome,” Woods said. “I think when the guys saw my name as one of the leaders in the pre-race e-mail they were probably thinking, ‘Um, this is a really bad idea.’”

It wasn’t. Then unknown, the neopro finished fifth overall and third on two stages.

“I want to replicate that if not improve on that performance this year,” Woods added. “We also have a good guy in Tom-Jelte Slagter, who's won the race before, so we're coming in with a very strong roster. I feel good having TJ there —it takes a bit of pressure off me. We have a few ways to do well.”

When Slagter last lined up in Australia to race, he won the overall and the queen stage, then riding for Belkin Pro Cycling. That victory sticks out as one of his most memorable.

“The one I recall the most was the Tour Down Under win in 2013. It was a great team effort” Slagter said. “I’m happy to be going back to the TDU — I’ve got good memories there. It’s an early race but an important one. We’ve got a good team going, and I think we’re all motivated. Between myself and Mike Woods I think the overall is something we can look at.”

The TDU parcours is one for an all-rounder, with two decisive days for general classification. The climb up Willunga Hill always shapes the race, and another, that up to Paracombe via Torrens Hill Road, should also prove decisive. The race’s winning margins are narrow and time bonuses often come into play, putting a tall order on sport directors to keep things under control.

“The main thing on my mind is getting the best out of what we have at this race. I think the guys we have here are really good, so it's great to be in a position to think that we can do something,” said Tom Southam, who will make his sport director debt for Cannondale-Drapac. “Both Mike and TJ have proven they can do well here, both are great athletes and having them both there gives us a great hand to play. Then on the other stages we've got Paddy Bevin and Tom Van Asbroeck.”

Southam was a DS last season with Drapac Professional Cycling. This race marks his first in the driver’s seat of a WorldTour team. “You could say it's like being given the keys to your older brother's sports car for the first time,” he said. “First thing you want to do is drive it fast, you also need to be cautious that you don't plow it in to a wall. But at least you know someone somewhere trusts you enough to leave you in charge.”

A return for Michael Drapac, in different colors

The Drapac name returns to the race in 2017 as a WorldTour title sponsor.

“It’s great to be a part of a WorldTour team, especially at such a prestigious race like the TDU,” said Michel Drapac, a co-owner of the Cannondale-Drapac team. Drapac, known for his support of Australian cycling, hopes the race will find a way to open up to more Australian teams in the years to come.

“While the TDU is a great race, it has the potential to become even greater to improve cycling in Australia. Given how the local scene is suffering, I would like to see the TDU somehow integrated into the national calendar, which would encourage Australian businesses to inject money into cycling,” Drapac said. “It would be great if the governing body of the TDU was able to work alongside the UCI, even by allowing the top two National Road Series teams a wildcard entry into the race. What that would do for the grassroots level of cycling in this country would be extraordinary and would also stimulate some much-needed investment into the sport.”

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Tour Down Under

Paddy Bevin
Brendan Canty
Will Clarke
Alex Howes
Tom-Jelte Slagter
Tom Van Asbroeck
Michael Woods

Woods, Slagter to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Santos Tour Down Under

 
Tag: cannondale
 
Jun 02 2017 - NEWS: Talansky leads Argyle Armada into Dauphiné
May 21 2017 - NEWS: Andrew Talansky rounds out Amgen Tour of California overall podium
May 12 2017 - NEWS: Phinney, Talansky captain Amgen Tour of California squad
May 04 2017 - NEWS: Cannondale-Drapac gear up for the Giro
Apr 11 2017 - NEWS: Sebastian Langeveld sprints to third at Paris-Roubaix
Apr 06 2017 - NEWS: Phinney out of Paris-Roubaix
Apr 05 2017 - NEWS: Cannondale-Drapac's Sep Vanmarcke out of Paris-Roubaix
Mar 31 2017 - NEWS: Vanmarcke to lead Cannondale-Drapac squad into Tour of Flanders
Mar 07 2017 - NEWS: Uran to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Tirreno
Feb 23 2017 - NEWS: Vanmarcke leads Cannondale-Drapac into classics weekend
Feb 14 2017 - NEWS: Cannondale-Drapac Team to ride Discs at Ruta Del Sol
Jan 09 2017 - NEWS: Woods, Slagter to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Santos Tour Down Under
Dec 15 2016 - NEWS: Dombrowski proposes Uphill Hour Record
Dec 06 2016 - NEWS: Tom Van Asbroeck completes Cannondale-Drapac roster for 2017
Dec 06 2016 - NEWS: Cannondale-Drapac's Pierre Roland to Target Stage Wins at Grand Tours
Oct 27 2016 - NEWS: POC sign three-year kit partnership with Cannondale-Drapac
Oct 24 2016 - NEWS: Davide Villella snags first professional win at Japan Cup
Oct 03 2016 - NEWS: Cookies And Climbs: The Malibu Gran Cookie Dough Fondo
Oct 03 2016 - NEWS: Uran third, Villella fifth as season winds down in Lombardia
Sep 29 2016 - NEWS: Ben King, Scott Thwaites, and Lachlan Morton will join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2017
Sep 27 2016 - NEWS: Taylor Phinney to join Cannondale-Drapac in 2017
Aug 16 2016 - NEWS: Cannondale-Drapac signs Davide Formolo to second term
Aug 02 2016 - NEWS: Hugh Carthy joins Cannondale-Drapac next season
 
Tag: tourdownunder
 
Jan 23 2017 - NEWS: Richie Porte believes he can beat Chris Froome at the Tour de France
Jan 22 2017 - NEWS: Richie Porte wins Santos Tour Down Under
Jan 21 2017 - NEWS: Richie Porte attacks to take Willunga Hill
Jan 20 2017 - NEWS: Caleb Ewan Scores Hattrick as Porte Leads
Jan 19 2017 - NEWS: Second for Peter Sagan on stage 3 of the Tour Down Under
Jan 19 2017 - NEWS: Caleb Ewan wins Crash Marred Stage 3
Jan 18 2017 - NEWS: BORA's Jay McCarthy fights for time bonuses at Tour Down Under
Jan 18 2017 - NEWS: BMC's Richie Porte wins Stage 2 after Solo Attack Down Under
Jan 17 2017 - NEWS: Amanda Spratt wins Santos Women's Tour
Jan 17 2017 - NEWS: Caleb Ewan Wins a Hot First Stage
Jan 17 2017 - NEWS: Cylance Pro Cycling Goes 1-2 in Adelaide
Jan 15 2017 - NEWS: Strong Showing for BORA - hangorhe Down Under
Jan 15 2017 - NEWS: VIDEO: Caleb Ewan wins opening Tour Down under Criterium
Jan 13 2017 - NEWS: Trek-Segafredo announce partnership with Sportful
Jan 12 2017 - NEWS: BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Teams debut at the Santos Tour Down Under
Jan 12 2017 - NEWS: Cylance Pro Cycling Announce 2017 Santos Women’s Tour Roster
Jan 11 2017 - NEWS: 2017 Santos Tour Down Under Start List
Jan 09 2017 - NEWS: Woods, Slagter to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Santos Tour Down Under
Jan 05 2017 - NEWS: Rohan Dennis crowned Australian Time Trial Champion
Jan 03 2017 - NEWS: Richie Porte to Headline BMC Racing Team in Santos Tour Down Under
Dec 31 2016 - NEWS: Robert Gesink to lead Team LottoNL-Jumbo in Australia’s Tour Down Under
Dec 28 2016 - NEWS: Sagan arrives in Australia early to train ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under
Dec 22 2016 - NEWS: Santini confirmed as official supplier of Tour Down Under leader jerseys
Dec 17 2016 - NEWS: Gerrans believes Chaves can beat Froome in Australia
Nov 28 2016 - NEWS: UniSA-Australia the likely only wildcard for 2017 Tour Down Under
Nov 24 2016 - NEWS: Chaves to kick start 2017 season Down Under
Nov 11 2016 - NEWS: The 2017 Tour Down Under according to Jack Bobridge
Nov 11 2016 - NEWS: Ten Reasons why the Tour Down Under Race is Just the Start
Jan 17 2017 - EVENT: Santos Tour Down Under