South African road champion, Louis Meintjes, finished 3rd during stage 5 of Le Tour de Langkawi earlier today. The young Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider formed part of a three man breakaway that included eventual stage winner Bradley White (United HealthCare) as well as 2nd placed finisher Thomas Rabou (OCBC Singapore).
The break of the day went clear after 10km of racing and initially consisted of 6 riders. Due to a lack of cooperation the break started to attack each other with the 3 committed riders eventually going clear with 100km to go.
Directeur Sportif, Kevin Campbell, explains how the team tactics worked out perfectly for the team today. “We thought there might be an outside chance of a break staying clear today as there were 2 cat 3 climbs in the run in to the finish. With all eyes on Merhawi we thought we would try and get Louis into the right move, and he showed great awareness and instinct to jump across to the leaders when he did.”
“Many other teams were unsure of how to react once the break established itself, but our plan was to drive any suitable break to shake up the race. The sprinter’s teams hesitated and when they finally decided to try go for a win it was too late,” said Campbell.
With Meintjes hoping to put some time into his GC rivals, he drove the break really hard in the final km’s ensuring they would stay away. This obviously affected his chances for the stage win but by climbing up to 10th on GC it was mission accomplished. Youcef Reguigui showed his sprinting legs were still firing on all cylinders as he was 5th in the bunch sprint to take 8th on the stage.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung now have 3 riders in the top 10 on the General Classification and were also able to extend its lead in the teams’ classification during today’s stage. With still 5 stages to go and Merhawi Kudus only 8 seconds behind the yellow jersey, it will be an exciting 5 days of racing coming up.
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)