February 6/00 8:12 am - Mercury Takes Final Langkawi Stage
Posted by Editor on 02/6/00
Mercury filled in the final piece of their very successful introduction to the Tour de Langkawi by getting the stage win that had eluded them all race. Jan Bratkowski outpowered the rest of a breakaway group, that included Canada's Peter Wedge, to take the final criterium stage of the Tour. His team mates Chris Horner and Gord Fraser hung onto their Yellow Leader's and Green Points jerseys respectively, and Mercury also took the Team G.C. award.
This final stage, 12 laps of a 6.1 kilometre circuit in downtown Kuala Lumpur was not expected to affect any of the lead positions, and it didn't. However, it was very fast, and very hot. Saturn started things off with a breakaway attempt by stage 9 winner Antonio Cruz. Cruz and 5 others went clear on the third lap. His breakaway companions were reeled back in, but the Saturn rider persevered, and he was rewarded when 8 others riders bridged up, including Peter Wedge and Bratkowski.
With Cruz the closest to the top on G.C., at 4:01 behind leader Horner, there was little incentive to chase very hard. One breakaway rider (Thierry Gouvenou of Big Mat Auber 93) was dropped within two laps due to mechanical difficulties, but the rest of the front group were working well together, and steadily increased their lead.
By the halfway point, the lead had stabilized at approximately a minute and a half. Mercury was monitoring things, but seemed disinclined to chase the breakaway down as long as the time gap did not go up any further.
By the time the race was down to its last two laps, it was obvious that the winner would come from the front group. The lead group began to attack each other in the final lap, with Nurnberger's Heinrich Trumheller having a couple of tries early in the lap. Both were neutralized quickly by the other leaders.
Peter Wedge then tried to get away twice - with 2.5 kilometres left, and in the final kilometre. Both times he was brought back, setting the stage for a 'non' sprint finish, according to Bratkowski. "For the last two laps it was attack, attack, attack. Everyone was so tired that at the end it was not a sprint, but who had the most power left."
- Canadian Team Manager Jacques Landry says that he is extremely pleased with the way the team rode all race. "We are not a pro team, but we were in the important breaks, making the race happen. Mark wore the Yellow, we were able to defend it; I think Canada earned some respect here."
1. Peter Wedge and Sylvain Beauchamp before the start of the stage.
2. Stage winner Jan Bratkowski.
3. Overall winner Chris Horner.
4. Points Competition winner Gord Fraser.
Stage 12 - Kuala Lumpur Criterium 75 km
1. Jan Bratkowski (Mercury) 1:45:48
2. Antonio Cruz (Saturn)
3. Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner)
4. Matthias Buxhofer (Phonak)
5. Heinrich Trumheller (Nurnberger)
6. Kosie Loubser (South Africa)
7. Peter Wedge (Canada) all s.t.
8. Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) at 0:06
9. Jans Koerts (Farm Frites) 1:04
10. Andris Nauduzs (Selle Italia)
36. Gord Fraser (Mercury)
40. Mark Walters (Canada)
64. Dominique Perras (Phonak)
69. Eric Wohlberg (Canada)
84. Sylvain Beauchamp (Canada) all s.t.
123. Paul Kelly (Canada) 3:26
125. Michael Barry (Saturn) 9:34
1. Chris Horner (Mercury) 38:34:39
2. Julio Alberto Perez (Panaria Gaerne) at 0:27
3. Fortunato Baliani (Selle Italia) 0:29
4. Matt Stephens (Linda McCartney) 1:05
5. Floyd Landis (Mercury) 1:48
6. Lennie Kristensen (Denmark) 1:50
7. Graziano Recinella (Mobilvetta Design) 2:02
8. Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) 2:04
9. Chris Wherry (Saturn) 2:25
10. Loic Lamouller (Big Mat Auber 93) 2:27
11. Walters 2:30
24. Wohlberg 8:58
38. Barry 19:21
44. Wedge 25:42
56. Perras 29:26
63. Fraser 36:50
65. Beauchamp 37:48
92. Kelly 54:20
1. Mercury 115:44:59
2. South Africa at 0:38
3. Saturn 3:08
8. Canada 18:49
1. Fraser 111
2. Guido Trenti (Cantina Tollo) 87
3. Haselbacher 82
11. Walters 34
1. Perez 66
2. Kristensen 57
3. Landis 34
4. Walters 34