March 3, 2012

After many days of hot, sweltering sun with temps in the triple digits, rain cooled off the Tour de Langkawi and the argyle armada took many shots for another stage win. DS Allan Peiper sent this report.

Did you know Langkawi was the 4th longest stage race of the year? After the 3 Grand Tours of 21 days its Switzerland and…Langkawi at 10 days long.

Stage 8 was a short one because of the prayer day and we had to be finished by mid day so a 9am start for 100km. We wanted to give Raymond Kreder a shot at the sprint but after the breakaway on stage 7 he was a little tired and in the sketchy sprint finish he was 10th.

Today’s stage 9 was a longer 165km stage. We had the plan to get someone in the break. Not a small break because that has nearly no chance of surviving but a bigger break like Ray was in with 16 riders.

Androni wanted to let a small controllable break go but every time we closed it down and for 80km there were attacks and regroupments until finally 4 riders got away with Haas. Not the outcome we wanted but a chance.

The first 2 hours averaged 51km/h and agter 3hrs the average was 48.3km/h! The break got two minutes and Drapac started to chase. Vini Farnese helped in the final and the break was caught at 5km to go.

A big crash 3km out and only 30 riders left in the group as a consequence. I had spoken with Raymond about trying to get the jump on Guardini in the sprint to give himself at least the lead in the sprint and obviously the upper hand initially.

Today he went early at 300m out getting the jump on Guardini and held on for a long time just getting passed in the final meters by Guardini and finishing third. A promising effort from our neo’s here today!

Tomorrow’s final stage another short one of 114km with some final laps at the end. It will be scrappy for sure in the sprint but Raymond has the smell for the sprint.

Tommy D finally got a flight out of the South China Sea and is Euro-bound after three days of trying to get out — hopefully a quick recovery for him. Dave Z is back from the land of the sun-stroked and feels good on his bike again. The heaps of rain probably helped too.

More photos from the Tour de Langkawi:
[flickr-gallery mode="tag" tags="2012, langkawi" tag_mode="all"]