In the Break and on the Podium at Tour de LangkawiThu 28 Feb 2013
Consistency has been the name of the game for ORICA-GreenEDGE in Malaysia. Travis Meyer once again spent the stage down the road to feature in his third breakway in three days. With Meyer’s escape group caught, Aidis Kruopis took third in the field sprint in Dungun to round out the podium for the third time at Tour de Langkawi.
“The team continues to work well together,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “A stage win for our efforts remains within reach.”
Meyer attacked shortly after the stage start in Kuantan. Initially two riders joined him. Only Cyrille Gautier (Europcar) was able to match Meyer’s pace. The duo set a punishing pace. The peloton gave chase before allowing the gap to open.
“The plan wasn’t to put Travis there today, but in covering moves, he found himself away again,” explained Wilson. “This still worked well for us as we then didn’t have to chase behind for the sprint.”
Meyer and Gautier gained a maximum advantage of seven minutes as race leader Julian Arredondo (Team Nippo – De Rose) controlled the tempo in the bunch. A sunny start gave way to predicted showers as Meyer took the first sprint and Gautier led over the category four climb.
When Astana and Omega Pharma – QuickStep began to contribute to the work at the front, the gap began to tumble. The combined efforts resulted in an early catch. With the field back together, Pieter Weening, second on the overall classification, picked up one bonus second in the final intermediate sprint. He is now 1:15 behind Arredondo with three stages remaining.
“After the catch, here wasn’t much action until the finish,” said Wilson. “Astana, Vini Fantini and QuickStep all rode on the front.”
A straight run to the line made for a fast finish that saw Andrea Guardini (Astana) beat out Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini – Sell Italia) and Kruopis for the stage win.
“We came to the front with Blanco at around five kilometres to go,” said Wilson. “We took control from there. The lead out went really well for Aidis. Unfortunately, Guardini was just too fast today.”