Posted by Editor on 02/7/06
Tour de Langkawi - Malaysia
Stage 5 - Menara TM to Genting Highlands 90km
1 Jose Serpa (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 3:01:00
2 Jose Miguel Elias Galindo (Esp) Relax-Gam at 1:28
3 Massimo Iannetti (Ita) LPR 1:33
4 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole 1:38
5 Walter Pedraza (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni s.t.
6 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 1:39
7 David George (RSA) South Africa 1:41
8 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole 2:08
9 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole 2:14
10 Yohann Le Boulanger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 2:27
28 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 7:05
72 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators Insurance 15:44
75 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 16:22
78 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance 16:30
1 David George (RSA) South Africa 16:10:33
2 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni at 1:57
3 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole 2:19
4 Walter Pedraza (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni s.t.
5 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 2:20
6 Robin Sharman (GBr) Recyling.Co.Uk 4:20
7 Jose Miguel Elias Galindo (Esp) Relax-Gam 4:40
8 Jose Serpa (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 4:44
9 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 4:54
10 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 5:42
11 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole 7:49
13 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 8:51
78 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators Insurance 45:54
85 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 46:32
92 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance 50:24
107 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance 59:13
1 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Wiesenhof Akud 53 points
2 Jose Serpa (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 43
3 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 34
4 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole 29
5 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 28
45 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 4
1 David George (RSA) South Africa 37 points
2 Darren Lill (RSA) South Africa 35
3 Jose Serpa (Col) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 25
4 Massimo Iannetti (Ita) LPR 24
5 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole 23
10 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 12
1 Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 48:41:05
2 Credit Agricole at 3:53
3 South Africa 10:03
4 Recyling.Co.Uk 32:03
5 Bouygues Telecom 38:12
8 Navigators Insurance 47:40
Navigator Team Reports
Stage 4: Tapah-Kuala Selangor 142.2 km
Today's (February 6th) fourth stage of le Tour de Langkawi was yet again another example of the race's potential for unusual outcome. The pan flat stage from Tapah at the base of Cameron Highlands back to the coastal town of Kuala Selangor was tailor made for the sprinters, and the complicated approach to the finish was certain to produce plenty of high-speed excitement.
The Navigators Insurance team plan for the stage was to conserve as much energy as possible for tomorrow's all important climb to Genting Highlands, while protecting the third placed GC position of leader Cesar Grajales. The one major concern was to not let Columbian climbing ace Jose Serpa back into GC contention, thereby giving Selle Italia a third, and perhaps most dangerous weapon. In spite of the clear focus on the dangerous Columbian, Serpa managed to sneak into an early escape, and as the South African team of race leader David George took control of the pace making, an eight-man group was allowed its exodus. With Serpa being the top placed rider in the lead group at over 9 minutes back, George's team was content to roll a moderate pace for the next 80 km as the lead built to nearly 7 minutes. With just over 50 km to go, it was time for the Navigators Insurance squad to move to the front and take the pace to a more ambitious level.
Selle Italia already had two dangerous climbing aces in key GC positions with Italian Gabriele Missaglia in 2nd place, and Columbian national champion Walter Pedraza in 5th. To allow Serpa, perhaps the strongest climber on the team, to work his way back into contention would give Selle Italia a superior quiver of arrows to set in flight over the next several days, and make defense of the top GC positions a difficult task at best. With the possibility of this threat becoming a reality, Shawn Milne and Bernard Van Ulden worked into the South African rotation, and took the pace up another 10km/hr.
Immediately, the gap began to drop, and although the South Africans seemed to resist the increased pace, the Navigators pressed on, putting the peloton in a long single line, mostly in the gutter, for the next 40 km. With the gap down to 2:30 and just over 10km to go, George's team all but pulled the plug. Meanwhile, Serpa had attacked the lead group, and was off on a solo mission to the finish. The remains of the break were split in two, and their pace increased as the three groups chased each other. With 5km to go, it was still Navigators Insurance on the front, but they were giving back some time to the now very aggressively riding leaders. In the final kilometers, the sprinters teams of point's jersey leader Radochla (Wiesenhof) and English National Champ Russel Downing came to the front to set up the sprint for 9th place.
Serpa soloed in to give the climbing specialist the victory in what should have been a stage for the sprinters, while Radochla took the sprint for 9th, exactly 3 minutes later. The top Classification spots remained unchanged as the field prepares for the race's jewel stage, and the 40 km climb to Genting.
Stage 5: Menara TM-Genting Highlands 99.7 km
Today's stage five on the 2006 Tour de Langkawi is the one that most characterizes this event, and singles it out as a climber's race. The 100km stage is notorious for its long and often steep climb to the amusement park resort, nestled atop the infamous Genting Highlands. The climb is just over 40 km long, and begins with a winding ascent that gradually increases in steepness over the first 20 km. The actually HC KOM begins with 10 km to go, but by this point, the field has already been pared down to all but the most elite climbing crew, and the steep sections that punctuate the remainder of the climb put a devastating sting into the strongest of the mountain goats.
Beginning in Kuala Lumpur at the base of the beautiful and exotic skyscraper, the Menara TM building, the course took a wide loop around the outskirts of the city before heading north towards Genting. After a very controlled opening 50 km in which South Africa let a 7 man escape go, and then rode a brisk tempo, Credit Agricole took over the pacemaking as the lower stages of the climb began. Gradually upping the pace, the French Pro Tour team stretched the peloton into a long line, and the action at the back of the field was dramatic. After one short steep pitch, the road dropped down to a roundabout that put the large field onto the access road to Genting. Now CA flipped the switch, and a hard but steady acceleration blew the field to bits. A tight selection of about 20 riders formed at the front, with Agricole railing the pace. The three Selle Italia riders were there, along with race leader David George, his KOM teammate Darren Lill, and able lieutenant, Ryan Cox. Navigators Insurance had Mark Walters and Cesar Grajales, and Panaria's Julio Perez was another notable climber in the selection.
It was the expected attack from Selle Italia's Serpa (yesterday's victor) that shattered the lead group, and first Cox, and then Lill were forced to drop from their leader. Walters was also gone leaving Grajales isolated, but the CA boys were still in good shape. Stage 3 winner Saul Raisin was the man at the point, and his pace was terrific. A series of attacks by Belotti, Grajales, and Pedraza pared the lead group even more, and eventually, it was a 7 man group that chased Serpa. Selle's Missaglia (2nd on GC) came off, and so the leader was riding with Grajales, Pedraza, Belotti, Galinda from Relax, and Ianettti from LPR. Serpa was over 6 minutes back on GC, so although he was over a minute clear, he was not a classification danger. With a multitude of attacks, the yellow jersey was perfect in defense, covering every critical move as Grajales, Belotti, and Pedraza tried to put the leader in jeopardy. Ianetti was dropped several times, but valiantly fought back from each struggle, until with just less than 2 km to go, Galinda jumped clear. As the four GC contenders marked each other, Ianetti put in a dig, and rode away from the others. The four Classification contenders kept a steady pace, but did not attempt to pull back the runaways.
Serpa, the man who won yesterday's flattest stage in a long breakaway, doubled up with a dominating ride on one of the toughest climbs of the season. Galinda stayed for 2nd with Ianetti third, as Belotti, Grajales, Pedraza, and George finished together.
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