|Theo Bos (Blanco) in 1st place, Andrea Guardini (Astana) in 2nd, and Aidis Kroupis (Orica-GreenEdge) 3rd.|
|Theo Bos holds on to Yellow|
|The dramatic finish in Kuala Kangsar|
|Theo Bos holds on to Yellow and Blue jersey, Seo Joon Yong (KSPO) in Red, while Wang Meiyin (HengXiang) in Best Asian White jersey.|
KUALA KANGSAR, Friday, 22 February 2013 - Blanco Pro Cycling's Theo Bos continued his dominant form while disappointing his rivals after winning Stage 2 of Le Tour de Langkawi from Serdang, Kedah to Kuala Kangsar today.
Yet again, Bos' closest rival and LTdL stage win record holder Andrea Guardini of the Astana team was left behind in a bunch sprint to the finish line of the short but tough 117.8 kilometre stage.
Bos crossed the line in 2 hours 54 minutes and 48 seconds, leaving Guardini in second spot and Team Orica-GreenEdge's Aidis Kroupis in third. Guardini had slight problems with his pedals in the final metres of the sprint.
With another comfortable victory, Bos retained the yellow jersey as the overall leader of the race with a 10 seconds advantage over Guardini. Bos also holds the blue jersey as the points classification leader, three points clear of Guardini.
"I am happyb to have continued with this winning rhythm, although today was a little bit more difficult because I had to start my sprint quite early. My teammate Greame Brown had opened it up too early.
"At first I saw the Garmin rider (Steele Von Hoff) behind me, then suddenly Guardini was there. But I also saw that he had some problems with his pedal, so I was a bit lucky today," said Bos, 30, who managed seven victories the whole of last year, but has already got three in his first two races this year after also winning Stage 2 in the Tour of the Algarve last week.
However, he admitted that it would be a difficult task to maintain the yellow jersey in the third stage tomorrow which ends with a tough climb up Cameron Highlands, but the Dutch rider aid he aims to add to his collection of victories in the flat stages after that.
"So far I'm satisfied with my performance and I hope to be consistent so that I get into some Grand Tour races and win a stage there. That is the ambition of every rider," said the winner of the sprint silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Meanwhile the king of the mountains jersey switched hands to Seo Joon Yong of the KSPO team after the South Korean topped the summit of the category two climb at Bukit Sumpitan yesterday to collect 10 points.
China's Wang Meiyin of the Hengxiang team lost the red jersey to Seo, but retained the Asian riders' white jersey.
In today's stage, a group of five riders - Seo, Li Fuyu (Hengxiang), Anuar Manan (Synergy-Baku), Shahrul Mat Amin (Terengganu Cycling) and Goh Choon Huat (OCBC Singapore) made an early breakaway right after the official start in Serdang.
Anuar managed to win the first two intermediate sprints in Selama and Lenggong to keep his chances of landing the points classification alive after he collected 10 points.
Seo took the mountains classification lead after he managed to top Bukit Sumpitan while Shahrul saw his hopes of landing the jersey diminish when he crashed about 70 metres from the summit.
The breakaway riders were caught by the peloton which was left three minutes behind when Shahrul won the third intermediate sprint in Kati, 17 kilometres from the finish in Kuala Kangsar.
"I am not a climber, but I knew I had a chance to do something if I made an early breakaway. I was lucky to collect the points at summit of the climb, because the was a crash between Fuyu and Shahrul," said Seo.
Stage 3 tomorrow from Sungai Siput to Cameron Highlands covers 145.4km and will see the challengers coming from among the climbers as it involves a long and hard climb to the summit of the highlands resort town.
The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres.
The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).