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"I lacked some experience in the Ardennes races in previous years but that should be alright now (...). In the future I hope to ride for victory in all of those races," Tom-Jelte Slagter told Wielerflits.

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11.03.2014 @ 10:00 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Despite of being the defending champion, Tom Jelte Slagter didn’t participate in this year’s Santos Tour Down Under edition and recorded very late start to the 2014 in Challenge Mallorca, as Garmin-Sharp team fully supported him in staying home to see his child being born. Apparently lacking several days of hard racing in his legs, the 24-year old Dutchman is confident about his current form and hopes for a strong performance already in the Paris-Nice before hitting the top disposition for Ardennes classics.

 

Before the Paris-Nice kicked off on Sunday, Slagter has participated in only one event this season –Trofeo Platja de Muro, which he finished on solid 33rd place after negotiating 162 kilometers of relatively demanding route. Despite having raced less than most of the riders in the peloton, the 24-year old Garmin-Sharp rider is satisfied with his disposition and hopes to claim a stage win in the Race to the Sun.

 

"My current level is high so I think I can go for stage wins right away. If I succeed a good overall might be possible too," he told Wielerflits.

 

A slow start to the 2014 season was caused not only by family matters, but was also a result of independent decisions made by Slagter’s new team, Garmin-Sharp, as they untypically organized a training camp in middle February.

 

"The team decided not to let me start in Ruta del Sol or the Volta ao Algarve. Instead we did some solid training on Mallorca together. I feel good now but we'll have to wait until the next race to see that feeling confirmed." 

 

As a former Rabobank and Belkin Pro Cycling rider, Slagter has joined Garmin-Sharp for 2014 season, being a part of a solid and consequent transformation of the American World Tour outfit. The Dutchman reveals that he is very pleased with the support and atmosphere provided by his new team, what from the very beginning convinced him about having made the right choice.

 

"When the team supported me in my decision not to ride Tour Down Under because of the birth of my child, I was really grateful. I had three great years with Rabobank and Team Belkin but when Garmin-Sharp were enthusiastic to sign me it was an easy choice. It's one of the greatest teams." 

 

Although he has ridden only in Dutch outfits earlier in his professional career, Slagter will be surrounded by fellow countrymen in Garmin-Sharp as he was fifth Dutchman to join the team after Sebastian Langeveld, Dylan van Baarle, Thomas Dekker and Raymond Kreder.

 

Despite of having very particular expectations regarding his performance in the Paris-Nice, Ardennes classics and the Giro d’Italia are the first true goals of the 2014 season for Slagter.

 

"I lacked some experience in the Ardennes races in previous years but that should be alright now. The Flèche Wallonne and the Mur de Huy suit me best. I was 14th there last year so that opens up possibilities. The Flèche Brabanconne should also be a race for me though I never did it before. The Amstel Gold Race was a bit of a deception last year but that doesn't deter me. In the future I hope to ride for victory in all of those races." 

 

"I want to improve in the hilly Classics but also want to get better in climbing and time trialling. My winter was longer than normal so I had more time to focus on these elements. I hope it will show in the Classics and in the Giro. Then I will be really content," Slagter concluded.

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