Aidis Kruopis Assumes Points Classification Lead at Tour de LangkawiWed 5 Mar 2014
ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Aidis Kruopis snagged another second place finish at the Tour de Langkawi, sprinting across the line behind Theo Bos (Belkin). With back-to-back seconds combined with a pair of fourth places, Kruopis moves into the points jersey following the seventh stage of the Malaysian tour.
“The points jersey is a small consolation prize for our efforts,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We’ll definitely try to hold onto the jersey, and the best way to do that is to win a stage.”
The peloton set a quick clip from the start on the longest stage of the ten day race. Despite a stiff headwind, the pace remained high as various teams sent their riders up the road. It took over an hour before the breakaway took shape. Brett Lancaster had made the move alongside Eric Sheppard (OCBC Singapore), Duber Quintero (Colombia) and Yonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli – Yellow Fluo). The quartert’s advantage maxed out at 4’25 as Tabriz Petrochemical gave chase.
“The plan today was to put someone in the move if the break was strong,” said Wilson. “We didn’t want to have to do work from behind. We also knew there was a higher than usual chance the break could stay away, so we were a bit more motivated by that possibility.”
“Unfortunately, with Monsalve on two minutes on the general classification, the break never really had a chance,” Wilson added. “It really wasn’t too bad for us because it put the Tabriz team under pressure, and anything that makes them more susceptible to attacks works to our advantage. Tabriz was really strong today. They held the move around three minutes.”
Quintero was the first to fall off the break’s pace. Monsalve soon joined him back in the bunch. The peloton overtook Lancaster and Sheppard inside the final ten kilometres.
After having spent the day up the road, Lancaster was unavailable to assist in the sprint train. Krupois enjoyed full support from his remaining lead-out men.
“We lost a lead-out guy because Brett was in the break, but we had all the other guys,” said Wilson. “The plan was to put Aidis in a good position on the back of the Belkin train, which is what they did with one kilometre to go.”
“Aidis was in super position until the last corner when he said he got boxed in a little bit,” Wilson added. “He got gapped by Bos and couldn’t close it. Another second place.”
Esteban Chaves finished on bunch time to retain his hold on fourth overall. The Colombian is currently 20” behind race leader Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour.