By Greg Johnson in Kepala Batas, Malaysia
Drapac-Porsche's Mitchell Docker is hoping to claim the Tour de Langkawi's points classification jersey this week after the young Australian enjoyed a stellar opening to the event on yesterday's Stage 1. Despite being just 21 years of age, Docker made the stage, and possibly race, defining break that saw 19 riders claim 21.48 minutes over the remainder of the peloton.
After starting the day on a high note by making the break, Docker pressed on to take second place in the day's second hot spot sprint. Docker, who resides in the Victoria suburb of Rosanna, was also charging at the finish leading the first bunch across the line as it desperately attempted to chase down stage winner Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom), after the Frenchman broke away in the closing kilometres.
The Drapac-Porsche rider credited last week's Tour of Qatar as being a good lead in event to the Langkawi race, where the Oceania Continental squad is racing for the first time.
"Last week were racing in Qatar so I knew it'd be great preparation for the racing here since it was more of a flat circuit," he said. "I enjoyed the circuit today, it was very picturesque and the weather was beautiful, just like back home in Australia."
Despite his opening day success, Docker said that any talk of being in overall classification contention hadn't yet crossed his mind. Instead the Melbourne-base team is eager on first defending the sprint jersey.
"I know there's a bit of a climb towards the end of the week," said Docker, noting it as a potential issue in any general classification bid. "I definitely hadn't thought about the overall. Everyone in the team will be on the attack so I guess we'll have to sit down tonight and yeah, I did feel strong in the sprint at the end which I was really pleased about.
"I guess I'll have a look at the points and first of all focus on this jersey and we'll see what happens tomorrow," he added. "But I'm sure it'll be a very aggressive race again so anything could happen."
Docker, who won Stage 3 of the Tour of Hokkaido with Drapac-Porsche last season, said he was pleased with the composition of stage one's break. The Victorian had five compatriots and a New Zealand rider in the 19-strong break away with him, meaning the rider had prior knowledge of how at least a quarter of the group would race the stage.
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