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Friday October 4, 2013 MYT 8:12:00 PM
Friday October 4, 2013 MYT 8:28:11 PM
by loganath veloo
Barring any mechanical failure, Kohei Yamamoto will become the first Asian champion of the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge 2013.- MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star
LANGKAWI: Barring mechanical failures, Kohei Yamamoto of Specialized Racing Team is set to be crowned the first Asian men’s overall champion of the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) 2013 on Saturday.
The yellow jersey holder missed out on a podium finish in yesterday’s Stage 4 at the Langkawi Geopark, but did enough to protect his overall lead in the men’s Open event.
Carrying a 2:49 lead over his closest competitor, Emil Lindgren of Giant Pro XC Team into Friday’s race, Yamamoto did not let the Swede out of his sight throughout the race.
Lindgren, who completed the stage in third spot in 1’39:50, could only shave two seconds off Yamamoto’s overall lead as the Japanese rider took fourth position in 1’39:52.
The stage was won by Maxime Marotte of BH Brsuntour KMC in 1’37:53, with his team-mate and French compatriot Stephane Tempier taking second place in 1’38:33.
“My race plan today was not to win the stage but to protect my overall lead. I worked very hard to stick with Emil and, in the end, I am happy to avoid mistakes and safeguard my lead,” said Yamamoto.
“The hard part is over for me because the final stage tomorrow (today) is a race on a flat course. As long as I don’t take unnecessary risks and stay with the main peloton, the overall title will be mine.”
Lindgren, who now trails Yamamoto by 2:47 with just one stage remaining, conceded that he had blown his final chance to regain the overall lead.
“I tried my best today, but Kohei rode a very good race to keep pace with me. With the exception of mechanical problems for Kohei, I cannot overhaul the time deficit in tomorrow’s final stage, which will be more of a procession than a contest,” said Lindgren.
In the women’s Open, defending champion Lea Davison is set to make it a double celebration for the Specialized Racing Team.
Despite a third placing with a 1’23:27 finish in yesterday’s Stage 4 behind Colnago Sudritol’s Eva Lechner (1’20:48) and Giant Pro XC Team’s Maja Wloszczowska (1’22:09), the overall title is as good as Davison’s.
The American holds a formidable 5:55 lead over closest challenger Wloszczowska ahead of Saturday’s final stage.
“Lea’s lead is too big for the rest of us to chase during the final stage, which is a short race on a flat terrain,” said Stage 4 winner Lechner.
“I will be contented to fight for another stage win and protect my third position in the overall standings.”
The final stage today will be held on a 1.6km course circuit at Pantai Kok.
Tags / Keywords:
Kohei Yamamoto, mountain bike, cycling, Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge, Specialized, Giant, Emil Lindgren
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