Tour de Langkawi: Theo Bos goes long but holds on to take stage two
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Tour de Langkawi: Theo Bos goes long but holds on to take stage two

by Ben Atkins at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour de Langkawi
Dutch flyer misjudges his sprint but just holds off Andrea Guardini for his second straight win

theo bosTheo Bos (Blanco) took his second victory in as many days in the 2013 Tour de Langkawi as he outsprinted the peloton at the finish of stage two between Serdang and Kuala Kangsar. The margin of victory for the former track World champion was considerably less than on the previous day, however, as he opened up his sprint far too early, but managed to hold on to beat record Langkawi stage winner Andrea Guardini (Astana) in a close finish.

Having missed out on the top ten the previous day, Lithuanian Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) managed to outsprint Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Briton Andy Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) for the final spot on the podium.

"I begun the sprint way too early, I thought it was closer,” said Bos aftewards. “I looked in front, [Blanco lead out man Graeme] Brownie went perfectly. I thought it was only 200m to go, but it was 300m. I thought I was in trouble but luckily I could maintain the first place to the finish line.

"In the end I thought I saw the shoes of Guardini coming and I thought I was really in trouble but luckily I could hold it to the finish line."

The break of the day came from five riders, who escaped in the second kilometre of the 117.8km stage. In the group were Anuar Manan (Synergy-Baku), Shahrul Mat Amin (Terengganu), Choon Huat Goh (OCBC Singapore), Seo Joo Young (KSPO) and Li Fuyu (Hengxiang). The five riders were never allowed to build a lead of more than 2’50” by Bos’ Blanco team, however, and were steadily reeled in before the finish.

Mat Amin and Seo put up a determined fight after the rest had been recaptured, but they themselves were caught with five kilometres to go.

From that point the stage was controlled by the teams of the sprinters; Bos’ Blanco lead out man Graeme Brown led the Dutchman into the finishing straight, as he had done the day before, but Bos launched himself with 300 metres still to race and struggled to hold off the attentions of Guardini on the line.

Attacks from the gun but the break isn’t allowed to go far

As soon as the peloton reached the end of the neutral zone and, in the second kilometre, the five man group got clear. Lufti Fauzan of the Malaysian National Team just missed the group, and chased for several kilometres, before being forced to sit up and rejoin the peloton.

With the group’s lead more than a minute and a half, Manan took the first intermediate sprint, in Selama after just 10.6km, ahead of Seo, Mat Amin and Goh. Keen to protect Bos’ lead on such a short stage, however, the Blanco team was already at the front of the peloton and determined to limit the gains made by the five fugitives.

After 20km the gap had grown to 2’26”, but was only to rise to a maximum of 2’50” as the five leaders arrived at the foot of the 2nd category climb to Bukit Sumpitan with 45km covered. As Seo took the maximum ten points at the top, to take over the lead in the mountains jersey classification, the lead had dropped to 2’20”.

"I am not a climber, but I knew I had a chance to do something if I made an early breakaway," said Seo afterards. "I was lucky to collect the points at summit of the climb, because the was a crash between Fuyu and Shahrul."

The front group was briefly down to four as Mat Amin crashed early in the descent, but the Malaysian was quickly back on his bike and managed to rejoin the others. As Blanco led on the descent behind them, the gap dropped to 1’25”, before rising to 2’27” as the leaders approached the second intermediate sprint, in Lenggong after 70km.

Manan led the quintet over the line for the second time while, behind him, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia came up to help Blanco on the front of the peloton.

As the peloton began to close the gap again, the five leaders began to attack one another, with the result that Mat Amin and Seo left the other three behind. As they arrived at the third and final intermediate sprint of the day, in Kati with 19.7km to go, they were just seconds ahead of the peloton; Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) sprinted to the head of the peloton to take third place, and take a second off his overall time.

With the sprinters’ teams now massing at the front of the peloton, the two remaining breakaways’ days were numbered, but they managed to hold on until five kilometres to go before they were caught.

Blanco led Bos into the finish, with Brown leading him into the final few hundred metres, but Bos jumped early and was forced to call up his experience as a former Kilometre champion on the track to hold off Guardini and Kruopis at the finish.

Result stage 2
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team Astana
3. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
5. Andy Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
7. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
8. Hossein Nateghi (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical Team
9. Fabian Schnaldt (Ger) Champion System
10. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela

Standings after stage 2
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team Astana @ 10s
3. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team @ 11s
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar @ 14s
5. Aunar Manan (Mas) Synergy-Baku Cycling Project
6. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge @ 16s
7. Seo Joo Young (Kor) KSPO
8. Junrong Ho (Sin) OCBC Singapore
9. Li Fuyu (Chn) Henxiang Cycling Team @ 18s
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 19s


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