Team Sapura Cycling will again be banking on new signing Ahmet Orken to deliver in the second stage of the Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) in Terengganu today.
The opening day of the tour did not go exactly as planned for Sapura as Yevgeniy Fedorov’s (Vino-Astana Motors) early breakaway denied the sprinters a bunch finish to decide the stage winner.
Orken (Turkey), however, was still able to outkick the other sprinters in the main group to sneak onto the podium for third position in Kuching behind Fedorov and second-placed Thurakit Boonratanathanakorn of the Thailand Continental Cycling Team.
Team manager Sayuti Zahit is expecting the second stage to be a day for the sprinters.
“We are grateful to be able to finish on the podium today (yesterday). There was a breakaway early on and the big teams just watched (them go),” said Sayuti.
“We thought we could catch them, but when the gap grew to five minutes we decided to focus on taking the third place.
“We know the Petronas yellow jersey team are capable of controlling the race tomorrow (today) to preserve their (general classification) lead, so it will most likely end in a bunch finish and hopefully Orken can do well again.”
Sapura won the LTdL general classification via Australian rider Benjamin Dyball last year. Dyball has moved to NTT Pro Cycling.
They, however, are not short of GC riders to bank on in this year’s LTdL with new signings Danilo Celano and Pierpaolo Ficara, who are both Italians, as well as Moldovan Cristian Raileanu.
All three are capable climbers and will look to make an impact in the fourth stage from Putrajaya to Genting Highlands on Monday.