Belkin's Theo Bos (left) finished the 132.5km Stage 2 of Le Tour de Langkawi in 3’11:11 while team-mate Graeme Brown (right) of Australia finished second. – Bernama Photo
TAIPING: Dutchman Theo Bos finally showed his class, winning Stage Two of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Sungai Petani to Taiping.
Bos had his Belkin team dictating the pace for the run-in to the finish line on Friday, which was marred by a crash that took out several sprinters like Andrea Guardini (Astana), Francesco Chicchi (Yellow Fluo) and Mohd Harrif Salleh (Terengganu Cycling) in the final kilometre.
Bos, who won two stages last year, finished the 132.5km stage in 3’11:11 while team-mate Graeme Brown of Australia finished second. Austrian Marco Haller of team Katusha was third. They all clocked the same time.
Race leader Duber Quintero of Colombia avoided the carnage and clocked the same time as Bos.
“It was a good day for us as we let the break go early and pegged it at a comfortable gap with team Colombia doing most of the job.
“When it was close to the finish, I asked the boys (his team) to go to the front because I didn’t want to take any risks. We didn’t expect the finish to have so many turns,” said Bos, who registered his first win of the season.
It was a textbook day for the peloton as six riders made the breakaway in the first 10km. Benham Khalilikhosroshah (Tabriz), Elchin Asadov, Tural Isgandarov (both Synergy Baku Cycling), Jiang Zhi Hui (Giant-Champion System), Ho Junrong (OCBC Singapore) and Abdul Rashid Ibrahim (Malaysia) were the escapees.
The pace was too high for Malaysian Under-23 rider Abdul Rashid and he dropped off after 30km of the race. The second casualty, after the 54km mark, was Zhi Hui.
The peloton, driven by teams Colombia and Astana who were looking to put Guardini in the bunch finish, pegged the breakaway as it hovered around the five-minute gap.
“It was a quiet day for me because we let the break go. It was part of the plan to let the break have an advantage of four to five minutes before we let the sprinter teams take over the job of pulling in the break,” said Quintero, who will wear the yellow jersey for another day on Saturday.