Two in Top Five on Tour de Langkawi Summit FinishSat 23 Feb 2013
ORICA-GreenEDGE put two riders in the top five on the stage three Tour de Langkawi summit finish. Meiyin Wang (Hengxiang) took a solo victory after escaping from the early breakaway. Julian Arredondo (Nippo – De Rosa) slipped away from the bunch on the Cameron Highlands to slot into second before Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) beat Wesley Sulzberger across the line for third. Pieter Weening led home the bunch to finish fifth.
“Wes and Pieter were both feeling okay on the climb, but they weren’t able to attack and get away,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The pace was pretty high on the Cameron Highlands. I think they’re both a little disappointed that they weren’t sprinting for the win. No one could have anticipated the ride that Wang had today. He was actually running third overall ahead of the stage, so he was up there in the sprints, too. He shocked the peloton.
Wang was part of a five rider escape group that broke away from the bunch during the opening kilometres. The quintet built up a 12 minute advantage after the first hour of racing.
“The five guys up the road were all from the smaller Asian teams,” explained Wilson. “They built up a big lead early. No one considered them a threat with the summit finish.”
Forty kilometres from the finish, the peloton had pegged the break back to 5:30.
“That’s when Wang attacked,” noted Wilson. “He got away from the original break, and he quickly put time into the bunch. The teams chased hard. Most took turns at the front, but they couldn’t bring Wang back fast enough.”
Wang held on to win by more than three minutes ahead of the peloton. Arredondo attacked from the field and finished 2:30 down on Wang to take second. Haas and Sulzberger sprinted for third, two seconds ahead of the group Weening brought across the line.
With his strong ride today, Sulzberger leapfrogs up to fourth overall. He sits 3:33 down on Wang, who now leads the general classification along with the points, mountain and Asian competition.