Breakaway Wins Stage Five of Tour de LangkawiMon 3 Mar 2014
Esteban Chaves retained his hold on fourth overall, 20” down on Mirsamad Poorseyedigolahour (Tabriz), following the fifth stage of the Tour de Langkawi. The Colombian finished safely in the bunch that reached the finish line in Rembau 1’15 behind the three rider breakaway that managed to evade the chasing peloton. Brad White (UnitedHealthcare) won the three-up sprint to take out the stage while Chaves was the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 12th place.
“Chaves pulled up well after his effort yesterday,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “He was a little tired last night and this morning, but that’s normal after a big effort, I think. He was fine during the race, and we’re hopeful we can put him in a good position to take a few seconds back during the second half of the race.”
Six riders slipped up the road in the opening kilometres of the race. The presence of Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) deterred cooperation amongst the escapees. The South African started the day in 14th overall, three minutes outside of the race lead. Forced to do most of the work in the move, Meintjes eventually attacked his break companions, creating a split in the escape group. White, Meintjes and Thomas Rabou (OCBC Singapore) built up a maximum advantage around the six minute mark.
“With Meintjes on three minutes on the general classification, it put a lot of pressure on Tabriz to chase,” said Wilson. “They chased really hard in the first half of the stage. I think when it became clear that they weren’t going to get the job done, Astana started to chase – obviously working for the stage. Belkin worked as well.”
“The guys out front did a really good job,” Wilson added. “They were really strong, and they managed to hold on for the win.”
Meintjes jumped up to tenth on the general classification. The rest of the top ten overall remained unaffected by the stage. Wilson suspects the stage five action is a sign of more surprises to come in the second half of the ten day Malaysian tour.
“We still have five stages to go,” said Wilson. “Some of those stages are quite long. It’s going to be hard for Tabriz to defend the jersey, especially with several guys so close on GC. They’re going to have their work cut out for them.”
“We’re going to look for opportunities,” Wilson added. “We’ll put guys up front as well. Let’s see if we can do enough to move Chaves up a spot or two.”