The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Tour of Thailand
Stage 3 – Sukhothai to Lampang 194 kms
April 3, 2014 – The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Tour of Thailand is once again bringing out the best in the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team.
OCBC’s Australian rider Eric Sheppard captured second place in Thursday’s Stage 3 and, more importantly, took over the lead in the General Classification standings at the midway point of the six-stage race. The 22-year-old Sheppard came down the final stretch of the 194.5-kilometre stage in northern Thailand with two other riders and was pipped in a sprint finish by the Chinese Taipei national team’s Feng Chun Kai. All three riders were credited with a time of 4:36:36.
Sheppard’s brilliant finish helped him wrestle the yellow jersey away from Stage 1 winner Lucas Haedo of Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team, and the Aussie now leads Team Hong Kong-China’s Cheung King Lok by 1 second in the GC standings.
The result comes one year and a day after former rider Loh Sea Keong won Stage 4 of the race’s 2013 edition for the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team’s first-ever stage win on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Tour.
To make things even sweeter for the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team, Singaporean Goh Choon Huat scored yet another top-10 finish, crossing the line in seventh place, 23 seconds behind the leading trio. It was Goh’s second top-10 stage finish in the span of three days and the sixth overall of his budding career.
“Our youngsters are racing like seasoned veterans,” said Justin Cheong, Team Manager of the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team. “Eric did everything right and could have easily won the stage. We are ecstatic to see Eric in the yellow jersey and we will do everything in our power to help him defend it for the final three stages.”
The OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team now has 10 stage podium finishes so far this season on the UCI Tour, surpassing last year’s total of nine.
Sheppard also vaulted from ninth to fifth in the Sprints Classification and won the only King of the Mountains (KOM) climb of the day.
Rounding out the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team’s lineup are Singaporean Ho Jun Rong and Australians Mitchell Mulhern and Cameron Bayly, who finished 60th, 75th and 81st, respectively, in Stage 3. Phuchong Saiudomsin, who is on the OCBC roster but is riding under the Thai national team’s colours this week, finished 13th.
Goh is the highest-ranked Singaporean in the General Classification standings in 11th place, 1:15 off the lead, while Ho sits in 60th. Mulhern currently ranks 78th and Bayly 85th.
Sheppard’s defense of the yellow jersey begins with Friday’s Stage 4, which begins in Lampang and ends 162 kilometres later in Phayao, two hours east of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Read about Stage 4 here.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Tour of Thailand 2014 Stage 3 results from Thai Cycling Association