United Healthcare Pro Cycling got their first win of the season through their most unlikely source of Bradley White, who beat OCBC Singapore’s Thomas Rabou in a two-man sprint for the finish to take Stage Five of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) covering 139.5km from Karak to Rembau today. Die deutsche Version ohne Bilder gibt es hier.
The pair had joined MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes on a three-man breakaway midway through the stage as they left behind Synergy-Baku’s Elchin Asadov, Androni-Venezuela’s Alessio Taliani and Aisan Racing Team’s Yoshimatsu Hiratsuka, who’d started the breakaway with them after just three kilometres.
Das war wieder eine richtige Hitzeschlacht
The breakaway opened up a six-minute gap on the peloton, manned by the Tabriz Petrochemical Team of overall leader Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour and with Meintjes just three minutes down on the Iranian in the general classification that would have meant the yellow jersey could have changed hands.
But the Tabriz Petrochemical Team did just enough to claw back and closed the gap to 1 minute and 19 seconds at the finish line for Pourseyedigolakhour to remain in the lead, but Meintjes took third place on the stage, just behind White and Rabou, to move up to 10th in the general classification at 1 minute and 41 seconds behind Pourseyedigolakhour.
White, 32, was happy with his win, especially since he was a last-minute replacement on United Healthcare’s squad for LTdL and doesn’t normally get a chance to register wins.
„I’m normally used by the team for criteriums and even then I’m just as a lead-out man for our sprinters, so I don’t normally get the opportunities to go for wins,“ said White.
„I’d also gone on breakaways three days in a row so, as they say, you get third time lucky. I was on the break in Stage 3 and was caught in the final kilometre to the finish in Kuala Lumpur, then yesterday in the Genting stage I was on the break again. Today, as we opened up the gap and went further and further, we started to think this would really work and in the end I saw the line and just had to sprint for it.
„Any win, no matter how big or small the race is, for me is sweet. So, to be able to win a stage here is especially a good feeling.“
Rabou was quite disappointed with his second place finish despite moving into the points classification lead, although he is tied on 40 points with Synergy Baku’s Matt Brammeier.
„I rarely get an opportunity to be in a position to win a race, so today with the break happening and to come so close to winning and then losing it at the last moment like that is a disappointment,“ said Rabou.
Pourseyedigolakhour said he wasn’t too worried about losing the overall lead despite Meintjes posing a big threat with the breakaway opening up a six minutes gap for a long period during the stage.
„We have a strong team and I am confident we will be able to control the race and keep the yellow jersey until the finish in Terengganu,“ said Pourseyedigolakhour. LTdL 2014 continues tomorrow with a long 199.1km Stage 6 from Melaka to Pontian, which will be followed by the race’s longest stage of 230.1km for Stage 7 on Wednesday.
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