Kulim, Langkawi – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team sprinters Jake Keough (USA) and Aldo Ino Ilesic (SLO) maneuvered through very fast bunch sprint finish to secure 5th and 6th place respectively, in the 162.7km, opening stanza of the 18th Le Tour de Langkawi on Thursday, February 21. The duo’s accomplishment secured for the U.S. based Pro Continental Team its third and fourth overall top 10 finishes in just its third race of the 2013 season.
Blanco Pro Cycling Team’s Theo Bos (NED) took the Stage 1 victory in the bunch sprint finish. Bryan Coquard (FRA) of Team Europcar took 2nd place while Astana’s Andrea Guardini (ITA), took 3rd place.
Team Director, Wilfried Cretskens, said, “This was a good way to open this year’s Tour de Langkawi. We had three riders in the breakaway to start and I asked the boys to give Jake their full support to set him up for the final sprint and they did a great job. Tomorrow, we’ll try again and give it another go.”
Commenting on his top five finish, the confident young Keough said, “The legs were good, everyone did the job they were given and we worked really well together as a team. Once we polish our finishing sprint and fix a few small things, we will be right there in the hunt for the win.”
Slovenian sprinter and new addition to the 2013 UnitedHealthcare Blue Train roster, Ilesic, talked about his 6th place finish, saying, “It was a calm stage today which was controlled by a few teams. The biggest obstacle was the heat. In the finale, we were really racing well so Jake and I could get into the last turn in a great position behind Theo Bos. He was just faster this time but we are looking forward to the upcoming sprints.”
Stage 2 is set for Friday, February 22, and the 117km the peloton will travel from Serang to Kuala Kangsar by all accounts should present another sprint finish.
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROSTER FOR 2013 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI (February 21 – March 2)
• Jonny Clarke (AUS)
• Lucas Euser (USA)
• Jake Keough (USA)
• Jeff Louder (USA)
• John Murphy (USA)
• Aldo Ino Ilesic (SLO)
• Wilfred Cretskens, Team Director