Former professional cyclists Daniel Lloyd, Dan Fleeman and Stephen Gallagher will be providing expert analysis throughout the season. All three are part of the UK/Irish based Forme Coaching and will be sharing their racing experiences and race data. In this third instalment Daniel Fleeman looks at Le Tour De Langkawi.
This stage, along with the mountain top finish on Genting Highlands should prove to be the two main days which shape the GC when the race ends 10 days later in Kuala Terengganu.
The opening time trial should see the winner finishing around the 25 minute mark with a power output in excess of 400 watts or 6w/kg.
I would expect to see someone like Dave Zabriskie winning this stage with Tom Danielson and Alexandre Vinokourov close behind and leading the charge of the GC men.
That sly old fox "Mr Savio" has the past three winners in his Androni squad, but it's likely these 55kg climbers will be on the back foot after the first stage TT so expect them to cause havoc on Genting, some five days later.
All the other stages are either flat or rolling and although some of these days do include nasty climbs, a field of this quality with "sprinter heavy" teams should ensure that most days will be end in a bunch sprint.
The likes of Andrea Guardini, Robert Forster and quite possibly old hand Jaan Kirsipuu are all likely to be coming to the fore all pushing out over 20w/kg in the finishing sprint.
The Genting Highlands are where the fireworks will begin, with the Colombians and Venezuelans looking to take back the time they will have lost in the opening time trial.
When I rode this race in 2009 I made the simple but grave error of tying to follow the attacks of Serpa and Savio's other climbers.
I paid the price, big time, and ended up blowing up in the last 20 minutes of the climb and losing a lot of time.
Sometimes, it is a case of riding to your own strengths and not your rivals.
To follow these attacks take 6-700w bursts which if repeated too often will eventually cause you to blow especially as the leading riders are likely to already be averaging close to 6w/kg on the climb.
For a GC rider like Danielson who is likely to have an time advantage on the Androni men coming into this stage it's all about riding at around threshold and following the guys that matter without being forced into jumping around like a jack in the box and going anaerobic too often.
This is definitely the mistake I made on the climb.
The wiser riders dropped off the pace earlier and stayed at, or below threshold for the entire climb, passing 'blown' riders like me as the climb progressed.
The heat and humidity which define this race are amplified even more on the climb to Genting.
Once this stage is out of the way the leader's team, along with the sprinters' teams will try to ensure its a sprint finish on the remaining stages - giving even more reason for climbers to leave everything on that one mountain.
My predictions for the race:
Time trial: A win for Zabriskie with Danielson and Vinokourov not far behind.
Most sprint stages: Andrea Guardini
Genting: Any Androni rider but likely Rujano.
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