• Wouter Wippert (R) rubbed shoulders with Mark Cavendish (C) and Peter Sagan on the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California (Getty)
If he continues to perform as he has this season Drapac’s Wouter Wippert will soon find himself a place in the WorldTour.
By
Cycling Central

12 May 2015 - 6:39 PM 

His 2015 season started with a third place at the Santos tour Down Under People's Choice Classic showcase, finishing behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) and JJ Lobato (Movistar).

He followed that up with a proper WorldTour victory on Stage 6, beating Heinrich Haussler (IAM) and Boris Vallee (Lotto-Soudal). In March Wippert notched up two stages at the Tour de Taiwan.

To keen watchers he was clearly a rider on the move, but as a ProContinental rider, opportunities to race against the best in the world are few and far between and rely on the invite largesse of event organisers - he would have to wait.

The Amgen Tour of California is one such invite and there Wippert is clawing himself into serious contention after a seventh place in the event opener and a third on the second stage behind sprinting legend Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) - the man who claimed both.

Wippert started the sprint first but was overcome by Cavendish and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the finish line in Lodi.

"I am happy with my sprint from today but I don't like to lose, so the goal is still to win a stage,” Wippert said. The team rode well and I was able to situate for the sprint.

“I came through the last corner with a lot of speed so I had to go a bit early. With a headwind, it was full gas and I just focused on the line. I only wish it was only 10 meters earlier.

"The team worked hard to keep control of the front of the race, and it showed we are able to hold our own against some of the best sprint trains," Wippert added. "Brownie (Graeme Brown) dropped me off exactly where I needed to be in the final kilometer."

With sprints his speciality and a mountainous third stage ahead of him, Wippert is unlikely to feature on the 170km ride which starts and finishes in San Jose, but there are still later opportunities for the Dutchman to break through on American soil.