Theo Bos (centre) of Belkin atop the podium, flanked by runner-up Andre Guardini of Astana (left) and third-placed Kenny Van Hummel of Androni Giocatolli-Venezuela, after winning Stage Eight of LTdL from Kuantan to Marang on Thursday. - BERNAMA
MARANG: Dutch sprinter Theo Bos stamped his class once again in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) as he took the win in Stage Eight from Kuantan to Marang.
The Belkin rider, whose win on Thursday took his tally to three wins this year, beat Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini of Astana and fellow Dutchman Kenny Van Hummel of Androni Giocattoli at the finish line of the 202.2km stage with the time of 5’01:58.
Iranian rider Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour of Tabriz Petrochemical maintained his grip on the leader’s yellow jersey despite being involved in a crash just two kilometres off the finish line.
He was credited with the same time as Bos and still leads Eritrean rider Merhawi Kudus (MTN Qhubeka) by eight seconds in the overall standings.
Malaysia’s best finisher on Thursday was Mohd Harrif Salleh of Terengganu Cycling in 12th spot.
“I almost got caught in the crash as a rider fell on me but luckily I managed to stay upright. (Graeme) Brown was excellent again in front in the final bend which was very important,” said Bos, the former keirin world champion (2006).
“I saw Guardini closing in on me in the final 50 metres but I had a good advantage over him, even though I didn’t manage a good sprint today.”
Mirsamad was lucky to have crashed inside the final three kilometres of the race. If it had happened further out, he would have lost time in the general classification.
As Belkin put down the hammer at the front of the peloton in the final five kilometres to put Bos in a perfect position, the peloton was strung out in a single file heading towards Marang.
As the peloton navigated past a road divider, some riders tumbled and caused a crash involving half the peloton, including Mirsamad.
“I was lucky the crash didn’t affect my position in the general classification,” said the Iranian rider.
With two more flat stages to tackle before he can seal his first overall win of the year, Mirsamad is looking forward to defending the lead. The remaining stages, both just 111.1km and 103.1km, should pose no trouble to Tabriz in their defence of the yellow jersey.