Manan becomes first-ever Malaysian stage winner at Tour de Langkawi
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Friday, March 05, 2010

Manan becomes first-ever Malaysian stage winner at Tour de Langkawi

by VeloNation Press at 5:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

If yesterday’s stage win by Taiji Nishitani supported the belief that Asian cycling has stepped up a level in this Tour de Langkawi, today’s superb victory by Anaur Manan copperfastens that notion, proving beyond all doubt that the riders are now capable of taking on high-level European pros and winning.

Manan triumphed on stage five to Port Dickson, making history when he won a big bunch gallop and became the first Malaysian stage victor in the fourteen-year history of the race.

He followed up on Japanese rider Nishitani’s triumph yesterday, netting the seventh Asian victory in all, and seizing back the points jersey that he had lost yesterday. He won the first intermediate sprint today and with Michael Matthew’s not placing in any of the three of them, he moved two points clear.

Then in the finish he finished first, as compared to Matthews’ eighth place, and ended the day a full nine points ahead in that contest.

“I feel very happy. I want to say thanks to the Malaysian people who always support me,” the Geumsan Ginseng Asia rider said, clearly delighted with his victory, and reception, in Port Dickson. “I had to win the stage for the Malaysian team, who were also helping me to get through today. I had to not lose too much energy by taking [intermediate] points, and instead to save energy for the last sprint.”

Yesterday, Manan reflected on a disappointing sprint and agreed that digging too deep in the intermediate sprints had probably cost him his chance at the finish. Today, he metered out his effort, and was rewarded with his best performance to date.

“I took things more easily today. I took back the lead in the green jersey competition in the first intermediate sprint – I got into the breakaway and many Malaysian riders like Loh Sea Keong from Marco Polo and two riders from the Malaysian team were helping me to take the intermediate sprint points. I got that sprint and moved ahead [of Matthews],” he said.

“I didn’t have to put out too much power for the intermediate sprint. In the second intermediate, I just watched Matthew and he didn’t take any points. I just stayed in the group, saving my energy. It was not like yesterday, when I was always fighting for the first, second and third intermediate sprints.”

Manan’s nine point lead completely turns around the close advantage double stage winner Matthews had at the end of yesterday’s stage.

He’ll be feeling good about his chances but in contrast, race leader Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling) all but accepted that his reign in yellow will come to an end tomorrow.

He placed third in an intermediate sprint today, adding one second to his lead; he is now six seconds ahead of David Pell (Drapac Porsche Cycling) and a further two up on Jay Thomson (South Africa National Team). However, with Genting suiting the pure climbers in the race, he admitted that he is not very optimistic about staying on top.

“I think it is almost zero percent, unless the other guys crash!” he said in the post-race press conference. “Today my team-mate Ghader Mizbani had a really impressive ride, he was in the first breakaway and ISD had to chase it down. The ISD team was really strong today. They had to work almost the whole stage - hopefully they have tired legs tomorrow so that we can go…”

Erler said that he believes that less than ten riders can now win the 2010 Tour de Langkawi. “I think there are a few contenders - Eibegger from Footon-Servetto is one. I know him from Austria, he is a good friend of mine and I think he will be really strong tomorrow.

“There’s Rujano and Pydgomyy from ISD, and then four guys from my team. I think it depends on the shape of the day, so it is hard to make a pick, but I think that one of those seven riders will make the race.”


Another aggressive day in the Malaysian heat:

Just two kilometres after the start in Muar, fourteen riders jumped clear. Manan was present in the move, and so too were Pedro Merino (Footon-Servetto), Pierpaolo De Negri (ISD-Neri), Rene Weissinger (Vorarlberg-Corratec), Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche Cycling), Ghader Mizbani (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling), Sea Keong Loh (Marco Polo Cycling Team), Takeaki Ayabe (Aisan Racing Team), Malcom Rudolph (Team Jayco- Skins), Hossein Nateghi (Azad University Iran), Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Christoff Van Heerden (South Africa National Team), Rusli Amir (Malaysia National Team) and Shahrul Mat Amin (Malaysia National Team).

The maximum advantage gained was just 50 seconds but, crucially, the move stayed out front for 31 kilometres. That took the group past the day’s first intermediate sprint, which was won by Manan. He gained five points over Matthews and thus reclaimed his points jersey on the road.

Matthews also missed out on top points in the second prime as Alexandr Shushemoin (Kazakhstan National Team) and then Bradeley Hall (Marco Polo Cycling Team) got clear just past the fifty kilometre point, and built up a strong lead together. Two other riders nabbed the points for third and fourth. The same applied in the third bonus sprint, although the placings of the leading duo were reversed there.

Their move was ultimately snuffed out less than 20 kilometres from the end, paving the way for the big bunch sprint and Manan’s breakthrough win.


Into the high mountains:

Thus far, the Tour de Langkawi has essentially been a flat to undulating race, with nothing tougher than a fourth category to date. In fact, some of these have been high bridges, so the climbing specialists have had no real chance to show. That will all change tomorrow when the race heads to the summit finish of Genting Highlands, one of the most difficult climbs in cycling.

Former Australian road race champion Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche) didn’t clock up any KOM points on the day’s sole climb, and as a result Zainal Rizuan closed right up on him. The Malaysian is now just one point behind, and will be one of several with their sights set on the mountains jersey tomorrow.

McDonald knows a tough task is in store, and conceded that he might lose the distinctive red jersey. “Hopefully I can score some points,” he said. “I don’t know if I can get enough to hold onto the jersey. Today didn’t quite go to plan…the radio wasn’t working in the leadout for the KOM, so we messed that up a bit. It would have been nice to have a few more points up my sleeve, I would feel more confident, but now I really have to ride well tomorrow. It is really just up to me.

“I think I really have to get out of my comfort zone if I want a result up there in Genting. I will be looking to go with the moves and to stay with the good guys up the hill.”

That too will be the aim of anyone with aspirations for the general classification. Sunday’s concluding stage is expected to be a bunch sprint so everything really comes down to the torturous, twisting finale tomorrow afternoon.

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Le Tour de Langkawi, Malaysia, 2.HC, March 1- 7:

March 5, Stage 5: Muar - Port Dickson:

1, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 111.5 kilometres in 2 hours 23 mins 11 secs
2, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto)
3, René Haselbacher (Corratec-Vorarlberg)
4, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team)
5, Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies)
6, Johann Rabie (South Africa National Team) all same time


Sprint 1 – Umbai:

1, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 5 pts
2, Malcom Rudolph (Team Jayco - Skins) 3
3, Hossein Nateghi (Azad University Iran) 2
4, Shahrul Mat Amin (Malaysia National Team) 1

Sprint 2 - Sg Udang:

1, Alexandr Shushemoin (Kazakhstan National Team) 5 pts
2, Bradley Hall (Marco Polo Cycling Team) 3
3, Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 2
4, Phuchong Sai-Udomsin (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 1

Sprint 3 - Kuala Sg Baru:

1, Bradley Hall (Marco Polo Cycling Team) 5 pts
2, Alexandr Shushemoin (Kazakhstan National Team) 3
3, Ruslan Pydgornyy (ISD - Neri) 2
4, Ghader Mizbani (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 1

Mountain 1 - Eye on Malaysia:

1, Zainal Rizuan (Malaysia National Team) 4 pts
2, Adiq Othman (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 2
3, Roman Zhiyentayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 1

Teams:

1, Vorarlberg-Corratec, 7 hours 9 mins 33 secs
2, South Africa National Team
3, Malaysia National Team
4, Polygon Sweet Nice
5, Footon-Servetto
6, Aisan Racing Team, all same time


Asian Teams:

1, Malaysia National Team, 7 hours 9 mins 33 secs
2, Polygon Sweet Nice
3, Aisan Racing Team, both same time

General Classification:

1, Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 17 hours 59 mins 23 secs
2, David Pell (Drapac Porsche Cycling) at 6 secs
3, Jay Thomson (South Africa National Team) at 8 secs
4, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins) at 2 mins 40 secs
5, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) at 2 mins 50 secs
6, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto) at 3 mins
7, Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team) at 3 mins 6 secs
8, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) at 3 mins 10 secs
9, Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies) same time
10, Bradley Hall (Marco Polo Cycling Team) at 3 mins 11 secs


Points Classification:

1, Anuar Manan (Geumsan Ginseng Asia) 89 pts
2, Michael Matthews (Team Jayco - Skins) 80
3, Vidal Celis (Footon-Servetto) 60
4, Tobias Erler (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) 46
5, René Haselbacher (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 45
6, Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 38


Mountains Classification:

1, Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 11 pts
2, Zainal Rizuan (Malaysia National Team) 10
3, Adiq Othman (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 7
4, Silvere Ackermann (Vorarlberg - Corratec) 6
5, Roman Zhiyentayev (Kazakhstan National Team) 5
6, David Pell (Drapac Porsche Cycling) 4


Teams Classification:

1, South Africa National Team, 54 hours 4 mins 54 secs
2, Drapac Porsche Cycling
3, Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling, both same time
4, Footon-Servetto, at 3 mins 3 secs
5, Aisan Racing Team
6, Malaysia National Team, both same time


Asian Teams Classification:

1, Malaysia National Team, 54 hours 7 mins 57 secs
2, Geumsan Ginseng Asia
3, Aisan Racing Team, both same time

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