Louis Crosby has secured the first stage win on the UCI Asian Circuit for BikeNZ PureBlack Racing on the third stage of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon's Cup Tour of Thailand 2012. Crosby beat the field home in a sprint finish in the 164.10 km race with a time of 3:17:03.
John Harris, Director Sportif, BikeNZ PureBlack Racing said, “It’s a great achievement for Louis and the BikeNZ PureBlack Racing team. Every member of the team played their role exactly to plan today. They all knew they had a great chance at being up there for the finish of stage three.”
Crosby said, “I’m rapt with today’s win which came down to a real team effort. We knew that in every breakaway we would need to have a rider and that’s exactly what happened. We were constantly working on chasing riders down. It all came down to the sprint finish and with 300m to go and I knew I just had to go full gas.”
After a really tough day yesterday with some long hill climbs the team was very focused on the breakaway tactic which worked perfectly. The team had to work hard in several splits of the race until the 75km mark at which point Crosby took off with the final breakaway.
Harris said, “The race suited Louis perfectly because of his height as generally flat stages with short sharp hills are his specialty.”
At the 100km mark there was a 2km hill climb with a 20% gradient that tested the breakaway.
“Going into the hill nine of us were three minutes ahead of the bunch, at the top of the hill one had broken away into the lead and five of us remained,” says Crosby. “We knew we had to continue to ride strong to stay in the lead, at the same time holding onto enough energy for the sprint finish we knew was coming.”
Crosby praised the efforts of Harris who he says coached him through the last 20kms to make sure he didn’t burn himself out.
BikeNZ PureBlack Racing is standing in 14th place overall in the Team General Classification.
The 4th stage from Chiang Rai-Wat Rongkhun has a distance of 136.60 km. The fifth and final stage is on 6 April. For more on the Tour of Thailand see http://www.thaicycling.or.th