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Monday August 19, 2013 MYT 8:32:00 PM
Monday August 19, 2013 MYT 11:41:14 PM
by shamshul fitri
KOTA KINABALU: Iran’s Mehdi Sohrabi clinched a solo victory in Stage Two of the Tour of Borneo after attacking the peloton in the final 6km from Tanjung Aru to Papar Monday.
The Tabriz Petrochemical rider completed the 189.5km race in 4’43:13. Ronald Lomotos of the Philippines finished second in the bunch sprint, four seconds adrift of Mehdi.
Iranian Hossein Nateghi grabbed third spot while Mohd Zamri Salleh of Terengganu Cycling was the best Malaysian performer, coming in fourth.
With the win, Mehdi now leads the overall classification. He takes over the yellow jersey from Paul Van Der Ploeg of Australia.
“In the final 10km, I felt that I had good legs for the finish so I decided to attack the group. In my first attack, several riders came with me but when I attacked again I managed to drop them,” said Mehdi, who rode for Belgian outfit Lotto-Belisol last year.
“We have the yellow jersey now. But we still have a fight on our hands as Stage Four is very important,” he added.
Stage Four is likely to decide the overall winner for the second edition of the Tour as it has two Category One climbs.
Monday’s stage – the longest in this year’s Tour – proved to be a boon for the breakaway riders. With three intermediate sprints and a sole Category Four climb, the peloton decided to let a breakaway form as early as the 10km mark.
Jelajah Malaysia winner Loh Sea Keong (OCBC Singapore) launched the first successful attack and he was soon joined by Anuar Manan (Synergy Baku Cycling), Tedi Adrian Saputra (Customs Cycling Club) and Dealton Prayogo (Polygon).
Four more riders – Saiful Anuar Aziz (Terengganu Cycling), Mark Lexer Galedo (Team 7-Eleven), Hari Fitrianto (CCN) and Ruslan Kadimov (Uzbekistan) then decided to join the breakaway after the 24km mark.
After Anuar wiped out all the three intermediate sprints at the 124km mark, the breakaway slowly disintegrated following an injection of pace by the Tabriz Petrochemical riders.
“It was going down for a bunch sprint anyway, so I don’t understand why they (Tabriz Petrochemical) wanted to push the pace so much,” said Van Der Ploeg, who won the opening stage from Kota Kinabalu to Tuaran on Sunday.
Van Der Ploeg and several other riders managed to join Mehdi in the first attack, 10km from the finish. But Mehdi, keen to notch his third victory this year, launched another scorching attack to win the race.
With the yellow jersey on board, Tabriz Petrochemical look set to dominate Tuesday’s 132.6km Stage Three from Penampang to Kota Kinabalu.
With two intermediate sprints and one Category Four climb on the menu, another bunch sprint to the finish is on the cards.
Tags / Keywords:
cycling, Tour of Borneo, Mehdi Sohrabi, Tabriz Petrochemical, Paul Van Der Ploeg
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