McRae gives thumbs up to Chipotle Development Team’s Tour de Langkawi performance
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Friday, February 04, 2011

McRae gives thumbs up to Chipotle Development Team’s Tour de Langkawi performance

by Shane Stokes at 8:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
 
Young riders performed with distinction in prestigious 2.HC-ranked Malaysian event

Chipotle Development teamChipotle Development Team directeur sportif Chann McRae has hailed the team’s performance in the Tour de Langkawi, saying that it performed above the expectations of many. The youngest rider in the race, Lachlan Morton, finished sixth overall, while the squad was third in the international teams’ ranking.

“I felt that they did really good, I think that we surprised some people. We definitely animated the race and kept chasing the teams’ classification as well as holding Lachlan’s spot in GC,” the former American pro told VeloNation at the event’s finish in Kuala Lumpur. “We really, really wanted the teams’ classification but there are more races…maybe we will see these guys again sometime [to beat them at some point in the future].”

The Chipotle riders finished just 37 seconds behind the winning time set by Tabriz Petrochemical Team, and were 26 seconds off second place. The classification was primarily determined by the performances on the two mountain stages, day four to Cameron Highlands and stage five to the Genting Highlands. Howes was seventh in the former, with Morton taking the same placing in the latter.

Morton finished 32 seconds off the overall winner Jonathan Monsalve (Androni Giocattoli), with Alex Howes two minutes and three seconds back in 13th and Kirk Carlsen a further 23 seconds behind in 15th. It was a very solid group performance by riders who are just 19, 23 and 23 years old respectively, and bodes very well for the season ahead.

Given that eight of the stages were flat and the final mountain stage was five days from the end, there was limited scope to get time back on the two teams ahead of them. “If they had put one more selective stage in the race, then I think things could be a bit different,” McRae said. “Not too much, but we definitely would have been sending guys up the road…”

Morton’s ride impressed many, particularly as he is so young. Unlike Monsalve and the rest of the Androni team, for which Langkawi is a specific target, he didn’t do any special preparation for the race. “I know that Lachlan didn’t train with much intensity before he came here. We didn’t know if he was going to be able to open it up on Genting Highlands or not," said McRae. "But we were watching him climb on Cameron and it was just like ‘tic, tic, tic,’ no problem.

“We told him that if he has that kind of form on Cameron, then he can do it again tomorrow [on Genting]. Then every day after that was recovery mode. He definitely rode better than I thought he was going to, actually. What’s important is that he didn’t do a special winter where he did a bunch of intensity to get ready for this. He came in solid and finished even better.”

Looking forward, McRae prefers not to nominate specific goals and set peaks, but rather to emphasise consistency and a sustained high level throughout the season.

“More or less, wherever we go we want to be on the podium. We don’t say, ‘okay, the next race is our goal race,’…anywhere we get an invite, we want to be ready to get on top of the podium.

“I think we have a really good team for the mountains. If we go to a prestigious race in Spain like the Circuito Montañes, they will be able to ride with the best there. They showed it here…any time we go to a race with really, really undulating terrain, or even mountainous terrain, they are going to perform.”

The team was using Garmin-Cervélo jerseys in Malaysia as the final team kit is not yet ready. The title sponsor is thought likely to be Chipotle, with Sugar Labs also expected to be a named backer. The latter is a not-for-profit organisation, providing educational software to 2 million children in more than 40 countries.

McRae expects the new jersey to be ready in the next fortnight. Both he and Garmin-Cervélo CEO Jonathan Vaughters have said that it has a striking design, and one which is ‘worth waiting for.’ The same can be said about the riders, who are developing at a good pace and who are, providing they are given time to grow at the most suitable pace, likely to be a big part of the pro scene in years to come.

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