Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) suffered severe chest pains on yesterday’s queen stage of the Tour de Langkawi, and despite a determined effort to limit his losses and stay in contention, in the end, the mountain, and his ailments got the better of him.
"Unfortunately Darren woke up Wednesday morning with chest pains and was not feeling 100 per cent which, after being checked by the race doctor was diagnosed as a muscular issue and is now being treated," team manager Jonathan Breekveldt told Cyclingnews.
Drapac have been getting closer to an elusive overall victory at the Tour de Langkawi, with Mitch Docker’s top 10 result in 2008 the start of a boon for the team in the Malaysian stage race. The team has worn the yellow jersey in five of their last six appearances.
The display of form Lapthorne had shown on the opening stage time trial in Putrajaya, and on the hilly finish to Pandan Indah on Tuesday had the team confident that the Australian, who is normally a strong climber, could potentially win the overall.
"Even with the injury, the team began the stage with the goal of putting Darren in the best possible position to defend his lead," said Breekveldt.
"We controlled the race perfectly to the base of the climb … Darren made the final selection of seven riders but when he pushed his body the chest injury became more apparent and left him unable to compete with the leaders.
"It was a disappointing day for the team but we had been on the podium everyday and even after today’s defeat it has still been a great tour for the entire team."
With Lapthorne the best-placed rider on GC for Drapac now at a modest 38th, the team will now focus on stage wins, with their break specialists Rhys Pollock and Floris Goesinnen. The team will also be monitoring Lapthorne’s chest to make sure they avoid compromising him for the next major objective, the Tour de Taiwan in less than a fortnight’s time.
Compounding the disappointment for the team, stage 1 runner-up Adam Phelan was forced to abandon the race before the stage start with the knee injury he sustained on stage 2 becoming too much for the 20-year-old to continue.