Brenton Jones of Drapac Professional Cycling (DPC) powered to second in the opening stage of Le Tour de Langkawi.
The165km stage was flat, fast and featured a technical closing kilometers. Graeme Brown, Thomas Scully and Jens Mouris compiled the lead-out for Jones, adding tremendous horse power and experience. Andrea Guardini (Astana) took the victory with Andrea Palini (SkyDive Dubai) for third.
Jones was pleased with the team effort and result: "It was a fast finish from top of last climb at 20k to go. There were a few big crashes in finish but boys rode solid to get me up there.
Good start with second today, we look to go one better tomorrow."
The 2016 DPC lead-out train of Mouris, Scully and Brown bring in substantial experience in tactics in the finals for Jones. Jones, who won the closing stage at Tour of Hainan last October has shown the talent and speed to go up against the top sprinters.
"Stage today was easy and controlled. In the final it was hectic and a LOT of crashes, luckily not that close to any of us. All the boys were where they needed to be and even the "climbers" got in the mix until during the day to protect Jones. In the final kilometers, Scully, Brenton and I lost the big Dutchman (Mouris) who managed to get himself to the front on the right and we were pinned on the left. Skully took us to 1k to go and I jumped on Dimension Data until 600 to go, went full as the last corner was a tight left at 300m to go. We went in super hot and sprinted out. Only Guardini managed to pass Brenton and he passed another guy in the final meters. All in all, a good team effort and a solid result to start to week," Graeme Brown, team captain said.
"This is the first time we have raced with both Scully and Mouris in the lead out, and they gave us a lot of firepower in the final. We knew the last corner was crucial, and Brownie did an excellent job to get into the last corner first and give Brenton a great run to the line. Brenton did really well, committed into the corner but couldn't get the better of Guardini this time. The sprints can be pretty messy here, and a number of the finals are pretty technical. But today we executed well, and if we can continue to work and progress from here we will be in the hunt over the following stages," Tom Southam, Sports Director said.
Stage 2 (158km) is another flat starting stage from Sungai Petani to Pulau Pinang with a steep pitch around 130km and a furious descent into what looks to be another exciting final for the sprinters.