Wouter Wippert, an up-and-coming Dutch sprinter who cut his teeth with the Drapac Pro Continental team for two years, announced himself at Volta ao Algarve with a fourth-place finish. The result was a solid follow-up to his third place in stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under — he seems to be settling in with his new Cannondale team.
“I think we did all a really good job, especially for me personally, Dylan [van Baarle] and [Ramunas] Navardauskas did a great job to keep me in front in the final,” he said. “I’m really positive about the day. It’s not a bad start for the first race in Europe.”
Though fourth is one step off the podium, he earned that result behind two German sprinting sensations, Etixx – Quick-Step’s Marcel Kittel, and Lotto – Soudal’s André Greipel, who were first and second, respectively. Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) was third.
“With 400 meters to go, 300 meters to go, Kittel started sprinting. I started fourth, and I tried my best, but I started fourth, and I finished fourth,” Wippert continued.
“For the result, of course you want to win as a sprinter, but yeah, the week is still new. It’s only the first day. We had two goals today — to get a good result in the sprint, and I think it’s not too bad, and to keep Rigo [Rigoberto Uran] on the same time as everyone else, and that worked out. As a team we did a good job today.”
Saturday’s sprint-friendly stage 4 at the Portugese race should offer the 25-year-old another opportunity to rub elbows with the WorldTour’s big sprinters.