Posted by Editoress on 01/31/05
Tour de Langkawi Malaysia
Frank Bodenmueller's photos from Stage 4
Courtesy Team Navigators Insurance
The time to shake things up has arrived in Malaysia at the 10th edition of the Tour de Langkawi. A 20.3km TT in the beach city of Bachok would be the first real test to separate the general classification riders, and establish a legitimate pecking order for the days to come. The rectangular course wound through the local agricultural region, passing the area's many rice and vegetable plantations, picturesquely punctuated with coconut groves. The field laborers were treated to an unfamiliar entertainment carnival as the colorful, lycra-clad cyclists sped by at 1-minute intervals. The course turned back along the coast for the last 8km, and the riders were faced with a cross headwind for the most difficult part of the ride.
Navigators Insurance's Australian National TT Champion, Nathan O'Neill was the 38th rider to start, and his 1/2 way split showed that he was the fastest on the course. After conserving some energy over the opening kilometers, O'Neill opened it up and came in with the day's fastest time of 24'42". Barloworld's Ryan Cox was a late starter, and bested O'Neill's intermediate split by almost 2" , but he could not match the Aussie's pace over the final kms, and O'Neill took the stage, 5" in front of the South African Champ. Selle Italia's Jose Rujano shocked everyone posting a 24'58", and putting him in third place for the day. Rujano is one of the big favorites for the overall, and his strong TT result will keep him in contention, and at least partially neutralize Cox's stellar ride.
Navigators Insurance's GC hopes lie in climbing ace Cesar Grajales, and his respectable time of 26'06" puts him in 22nd place at the moment, and keeps him within striking distance. Overnight race leader Koji Fukushima used the power of the yellow jersey to carry him to a 26'22", and 39th place for the stage. Although he gave back nearly 1'40" to O'Neill, he still holds a 1'20" advantage, with Cox in third another 2" back. Discovery Channel put 3 riders in the top ten with Michael Barry being the best paced in 5th.
Team Navigators Photos
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