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UCI WorldTour: Rising star Tom Jelte Slagter is the first leader




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Tom Slagter of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team is the first leader of the 2013 UCI WorldTour ranking after overall victory at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia.

The 23 year-old Dutchman won a stage and finished second on the decisive hill-top finish to win his first ever UCI WorldTour race.

His performance scored him a total of 111 ranking points and leaves him well clear of second-placed of Spain's Javier Moreno (Movistar Team), who was also second overall at the Santos Tour Down Under. The Spaniard has a total of 86 points, with Britain's Geraint Thomas is third in the individual ranking with 77 points. Other riders follow in the individual ranking thanks to scoring points for overall success and on each stage.

Slagter is one of the future talents of Dutch cycling. He was Under 23 National Road race Champion in 2010, finished fourth in the Tour de l'Avenir in the same year and showed his professional ability with sixth overall in the 2012 Tour of Oman.

"I've never won a race like this. My first win was in Stirling and it's really amazing that I took the leader's jersey. I can't believe it," Slagter said after pulling on the winner's ochre-coloured winner's jersey.

"I’m not thinking that I’m young but that I have won the Santos Tour Down Under and that’s a wonderful feeling! I don't think about my age, we’re all in the same peloton and more and more young riders are performing well."

Thanks to Slagter's success, Blanco Pro Cycling also tops the team standing of the UCI WorldTour ranking.

With Wilco Kelderman scoring 40 points and Mark Renshaw a further six points, the Dutch team has a total of 157 points. Euskaltel Euskadi is a distant second with 91 points and the Movistar Team is third with 87 points.

"I’m really proud of what the Blanco team has done all week," Slagter said. "It puts some pressure on me. It's the first race of the year, it's still a long season but I want to keep this level for as long as possible."

Spain leads the nation ranking with a total of 177 points thanks to strong performances from Javier Moreno and brothers Jon and Gorka Izaguirre Insausti. They all finished in the top ten overall at the Santos Tour Down Under to place Spain ahead of the Netherlands -second with 152 points, with Great Britain a distant third with 78 points.

The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under marked yet another successful start to the 2013 UCI WorldTour. While Europe shivered in the depths of winter, the riders in Australia enjoyed sun and warm temperatures. The racing was fast and furious in the South Australia countryside and the fans came out to see and admire the riders.

The road racing calendar now continues around the world, with the Paris-Nice the next race on the UCI WorldTour calendar in early March. The French stage race will offer more UCI WorldTour ranking points and show who are the early challengers for the prestigious season-long competition.

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