In almost an exact repeat of yesterday’s stage, Theo Bos (Belkin) won the 9th stage of the Le Tour de Langkawi. Andrea Guardini (Astana) was once again 2nd with Aidis Kruopis (Orica GreenEdge) taking the final step on the podium this time around.
Today’s stage was quite a bit shorter than the previous three days at only 109km in length. The day’s proceedings were very much the same as the longer stages though. The early break was made up by Yonathan Monslave (Yellow Fluo) and Carlos Quintero (Colombia). The two riders forged out a lead of just over 2 minutes before the chase to bring them back started. Quintero managed to pick up 9 bonus seconds on route, this moved him up to 10th on GC with Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) dropping to 11th.
With 10km to go the race came back together and the sprinters teams had another chance to battle for top honours. As in the previous 2 stages another crash happened inside the final 3km, luckily not too many riders were involved this time and no Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders were caught up in the mishap either.
Youcef Reguigui, the sprinter on Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was in the mix during the sprint once again and managed to finish 10th on the stage. Merhawi Kudus, still 2nd on GC for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was also testing his climber legs against the sprinters and had a good strong finish with 12th place on the stage.
The final stage of Le Tour de Langkawi will take place in the form of a 114km race from Tasik Kenyir to Terengganu. The route does feature 2 category 4 climbs but the race should be one for the sprinters once again. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will look to defend their 2nd place on GC as well as its lead in the team competition.
Le Tour de Langkawi (Malaysia) – (February 27 – March 8/UCI 2.HC)
Louis Meintjes (RSA)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Merhawi Kudus (ERI)
Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
John-Lee Augustyn (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)
Staff: Kevin Campbell (Sports Director), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Yvonne Houwelling (Soigneur) and Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic)