Tour of Langkawi Stage Nine: Then There Were Three

Sat 2 Mar 2013

ORICA-GreenEDGE started the penultimate stage of the Tour de Langkawi down three riders. Having last Aidis Kruopis to a crash during stage eight, the team was dealt a second blow overnight when Luke Durbridge and Wesley Sulzberger came down with food poisoning. Despite lacking numbers, it was business as usual for the Australian outfit with Travis Meyer on the early attack and Allan Davis rounding out the stage podium.

“We have had five podium places in nine stages, and we’ve been in the top five on all but two stages,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We’ve been knocking on the door all week. Even with only three riders, all we can do is keep doing what we’re doing. We’re still after that stage win, and we have one last chance tomorrow.”

It took an hour for the day’s break to establish. Before Yilin Liu (Hengxiang) and Endra Wijaya (Indonesia National Team) made their way down the road, Meyer twice attempted to escape from the bunch.

“Unfortunately through the night, Wes and Luke came down with food poisoning, and I didn’t let them start today,” explained Wilson. “Without them, it changed our tactics for today’s stage. I told Travis he might as well go for the move, but the bunch wasn’t having anything of it. They wanted a small breakaway that they could control easily.”

Liu and Wijaya dutifully built up their advantage under the watchful eye of the peloton controlled by Europcar and Vini Fantini. Twenty kilometres from the finish, Liu and Wijaya were back in the bunch. Teams began to prepare for the sprint.

Bryan Coquard (Europcar) delivered his second stage win in as many days ahead of Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini –Selle Italia) while Allan Davis claimed third.  

“Pete and Travis did a really good job putting Alby [Allan Davis] in position,” said Wilson. “He just wasn’t fast enough today, but he showing really big improvements in his form.”