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"I can't believe it because this is the first race of my season after one day in Mallorca. But it was really hectic in the last few days and you can feel how good you are. Today was the best possibility for me. That climb suits me...

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TOM-JELTE SLAGTER

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12.03.2014 @ 20:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tom-Jelte Slagter paid back his new team Garmin-Sharp for their faith in him right from the beginning of the season when he won today's fourth stage of Paris-Nice. Having only raced on day in argyle colours prior to the French race, the Dutchman was surprised to take such an early win and admitted that the short, steep climb had suited him perfectly.

 

One year ago, Garmin-Sharp came away with the win when Paris-Nice hit the hills when Andrew Talansky took a sprint win on the fourth day of the race. Today the scenario repeated itself at the exact same point of the race when the American team again came away with the spoils.

 

Again it was a fair-haired youngster who showed his potential when 2013 Tour Down Under winner Tom-Jelte Slagter took his first win for his new team during the 201.5km stage from Nevers to Belleville. After attacking on the final climb, hewas joined by Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas for the final 10km mostly flat run in to the finish.

 

Although two strong groups were going full gas in pursuit of the duo, they worked well together and stayed away to the finish. Slagter opened the sprint first from 2nd wheel and beat Thomas for the stage win. He now sits in 3rd place overall behind Thomas who took the overall lead.

 

"I can't believe it because this is the first race of my season after one day in Mallorca," he said. "But it was really hectic in the last few days and you can feel how good you are. Today was the best possibility for me. That climb suits me really well but to win the stage is something I didn't expect.

 

"I knew Geraint Thomas is pretty good, he is fast and strong and a very good rider. I knew that if I wanted to beat him I had to wait for the right moment but it worked perfectly. It was the job I had to do."

 

"Really awesome to win a stage in PN," he added in an email to his tem. "The legs were feeling good the days before, and we knew today would be a chance to make a good result. The boys worked so hard for me, and put me in a good position every time. So it was a real team victory today.

 

"I’m really happy to show this for the sponsors and I’m proud of the team. The little cow I got at the podium will make Milan [his newly-born son] happy hopefully… He’s always on my mind!"

 

The plan today was to ride aggressively from the start and cover breakaways," sports director Gert Van Bondt said. "All of the guys did all a great job. We had some critical points with small roads and climbs before the important last climb. Everybody was there all day and they rode perfectly as a team, which makes it a great team victory. 

 

"We knew the last climb at 15 km from the finish was on very small roads, so we had to be at the front because the descent stayed on small roads. Tom executed perfectly and attacked with a few hundred meters to go as he wanted to be the first at that point and descend first. We are very happy with the win and the teamwork it took all day to accomplish it.

 

You can read a preview of stage 5 here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CET on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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