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“Duque’s experience and skills have helped him get an important third place, Torres showed he was strong on the climbs, while all the riders have now recovered from the intestinal problems they had in the first days."

Photo: Sirotti

LEONARDO DUQUE

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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10.03.2015 @ 17:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The decisive climbs of the Tour de Langkawi are still a few days away, but as soon as the first hills that are so characteristic to the Malaysian stage race have appeared in the 170-km-long stage three from Gerik to Tanah Merah, the Escarabajos have responded “present”, nabbing a strong third place from a reduced group, thanks to Leonardo Duque.

 

The sprint specialist of the team managed by Claudio Corti thus repeated the result he got last year, when he finished third in Pekan, staying in the main group in a stage marked by a fierce battle from the first kilometers and the two climbs included in the first half of the race, that led to an important selection, which few would have expected.

 

Young Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) – who is the new GC leader – took the win, ahead of Algeria’s Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), while Duque, who came in third, made an important jump in the overall classification, sitting now in 5th position, only 18’’ behind Ewan. Winner of the first two stages, Andrea Guardini arrived at the finish with a group that lost important ground.

 

In the first part of the day – animated by a breakaway of five: Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), Brun (Bretagne-Seche), Mancebo and Haddi (Skydive Dubai) – Orica’s riders took some strong pulls at the front on the climb of Gerik, selecting the best from the rest, a group of around 20 riders emerging – with Duque and Torres among them – and creating a gap on the ascent.

 

After a few more kilometers, a second group – which had Daniel Martinez in it – made the junction with the first one, and after the day’s second climb, Titiwangsa, a group of 50 cyclists broke clear under the pace of the Escarabajos and Orica-GreenEdge, and stayed at the front. With just 5 km to go, the Russian Pavel Brutt tried to give the other riders the slip, but the sprinter’s teams have caught up with him in the last 2 km, before launching the sprint, which was won by Ewan.

 

“Today was a tough day, but the team gave us the feedback I was expecting before the most demanding stages of the race”, Valerio Tebaldi, the Sports Director of Colombia-Coldeportes, said. “Duque’s experience and skills have helped him get an important third place, Torres showed he was strong on the climbs, while all the riders have now recovered from the intestinal problems they had in the first days spent in Malaysia. It’s a pity what happened to Diaz, who has suffered the aftermath of yesterday’s crash, but we hope to have him recovered for the decisive stages”.

 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11th, the Escarabajos will be at the startline of stage four, (Kota Bharu – Kuala Berang 165,4 Km), which should have another nervous finale, while another team, lead by Sports Directors Oscar Pellicioli andMarco Corti, will line-up for the Tirreno-Adriatico prologue, Colombia-Coldeportes’ first World Tour race of the year. The prologue that starts and finishes in Lido di Camaiore has 5,4 km and will replace the traditional team time trial, a change the organizers made because of the bad weather.

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