Fabian Schnaidt avoided a pile-up in the final moments of Stage 9 Friday at the Tour de Langkawi to finish fifth and register the Champion System Pro Cycling Team's best placing on the penultimate day of the 10-stage race.
Entering the last kilometer of the 123.6 km race, the front of the peloton swung wildly from the left side of the road to the right. The abrupt move took down a half dozen riders who were tucked in the middle of the pack.
"I decided a few days ago that we needed to be a bit more assertive approaching the finish," Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. "The aim was to get Fabian away from the dogfight and give him a more clear path to the line."
New to Champion System this year and a stage winner last year at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Schnaidt said his secret to a high placing was help from his teammates, who kept him ahead of the chaos. On Stage 2, he also cracked the top 10 (in ninth place) but managed no better than 12th in the sprint finishes that concluded Stages 4, 7 and 8.
"The sprints have been crazy and there have been crashes almost every day, Schnaidt said. "The guys did a great job keeping me in front of the fight today and I was able to have a good sprint and getting closer."
Bryan Coquard (Team Europcar) won his second consecutive stage ahead of Stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). In the overall standings, Julian Arredondo (Team Nippo-De Rosa) comfortably maintains a 1:15 advantage over Pieter Weening (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with only Saturday's 114 km stage to go.