Today’s stage was a difficult one for me to report on since I spent the whole time cramped inside a media van that sped all the way to the city of Melaka, and over one hour in front of the peloton. This also put us out of radio contact and we had no clue to what was happening apart from some sporadic Twitter updates when a signal was found. At least tomorrow, I have secured a media motorcycle spot and this will allow me to follow the race quite closely as the action unfolds. To add to difficulty of reporting, is the fact that media are all housed in a separate hotel and this makes it difficult for me to connect with the riders from various teams. This is what I do best, connect with the riders during the non-racing times and this is where I can delve deeper into interesting stories, both about rider backgrounds and what actually went on in the middle of the peloton.
I have provided a report for the Neilpryde Bikes website, which should be online sometime early tomorrow. For other reports you can check out Cyclingiq.com’s report by Cam Whiting. Also the official race website contains updates, photos and stories.
In short, an impressive lead-out train by Italian team, Farnese Vini – Selle Italia sent their designated man Andrea Guardini sailing to the line with ease. In fact his two team-mates were already celebrating the win while Guardini still had some sprinting to do to ensure the win. Despite crashing at the Tour of Oman last week and being bandaged up, Guardini had his first win in the bag for 2012. He has won five stages here at the Langkawi race previously and with his strong team line-up he will be looking to repeat more stage wins.
However, the UHC Pro Cycling Team, riding on Neilpryde Diablo’s, is definitely a force to be reckoned with after their showing in the finale. Despite launching their “Blue Train” from quite far back and a tad little late, three riders were able to deliver key sprinter Jake Keough to an excellent position, so good that Keough was still accelerating all the way to the line. It was only the jump by Guardini that prevented a potential UHC Pro Cycling Team win. It is my prediction that we will see more of these exciting American riders that know how to ride field sprints.
David Zabriskie retained his yellow jersey by finishing safely within the peloton. Zabriskie had some funny comments at the post prize giving press conference (below excerpt taking from Cyclingiq.com). He seems to be a rider that has a quirky sense of humor…
“I have a question”
“Go ahead David”
“Why don’t they give us kisses on the podium?”
“Local culture – it’s a little bit different from the US or Europe”
“Oh, I didn’t know. Maybe I thought I was screwing it up. I’m sure my wife probably likes this no kissing business. I’ll probably be alright with it too. I’ll make her give me all the kisses I missed. How about that? I love you wife. (Gesturing towards Gruzdev) He said he loves his wife too. We don’t know if he’s married. Alright everybody thanks for coming.”
Keep on scrolling for the day’s photo selection.