Two in the Top Ten on Rain-Soaked Tour de Langkawi Stage SixWed 27 Feb 2013
ORICA-GreenEDGE once again proved the animators on a wet and wild day of racing at the Tour de Langkawi. Luke Durbridge, Travis Meyer and Wesley Sulzberger repeatedly launched attacks and covered counter-moves before Sulzberger and Meyer finally managed to get in the race winning move in the last 30 kilometres of stage six. Meyer went on to finish fifth on the stage while Allan Davis slotted into seventh place.
“It was an eventful day of racing,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The action never stopped. Something would go and get caught. Immediately something else would go. The peloton didn’t allow anymore than two minutes. We had Luke, Trav or Wes in every move. It was a fantastic effort by all three.”
Rain created flood-like conditions over certain parts of the course and the first 150 kilometres of the 212 kilometre day averaged a blistering 49 kilometres/hour. Durbridge, Meyer and Sulzberger were tasked with covering anything that went down the road.
“We had Aidis [Kruopis] in survival mode after coming down with a stomach bug the night before, and we wanted to save [Allan] Davis for the finish if it all came back together,” explained Wilson. “Pete is second on the GC, so that left us with three riders to look after moves. They did really phenomenal work. I lost count of how many times each of them went down the road.”
“I knew today would be a day that could be for the breakaway,” added Wilson. “On days like this, I know it’s going to be full on, but I never thought it would take all day. An hour? Two hours? Tops. This was unexpected.”
A large group of 18 riders finally established itself in the last hour of the race. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) was the best placed rider in the move, sitting in 15th overall, 3:50 behind race leader Julian Arredondo (Nippo – De Rosa). His presence doomed the group that was never allowed more than a 2:30 advantage.
“Nippo chased really hard,” said Wilson. “They had them pegged back to a minute in the last ten kilometres.”
Meyer took a flyer as the gap tumbled. He immediately distanced himself from the fragmenting break. Four riders bridged across to him. Tom Leezer (Blanco) attacked the quartet to take a solo victory. Meyer rolled across the line in fifth.
Behind, the peloton caught the remnants of the break before the finish. Davis took second in the field sprint behind Andrea Guardini (Astana) to slot into seventh on the stage. Weening gained six seconds on Arredondo at the finish to remain second overall, 1:16 behind the race leader.
“It was an excellent ride by the team in absolutely crazy conditions,” said Wilson. “They all gave it a good effort. We have four days left to get that stage win. With the way they’ve been riding, it’s well within reach.”