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Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 9:50:00 PM
Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 10:18:41 PM
by loganath velloo
We did it! The women's and men's overall champions Lea Davison and Kohei Yamamoto beaming after clinching their title.- BERNAMA photo.
LANGKAWI: It was a fabulous day for the Specialized Racing Team as Kohei Yamamoto and Lea Davison won the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) 2013 overall titles – and a place in the history books – yesterday.
Since the LIMBC started in 2010, Yamamoto is the first Asian to win the men’s overall title while women’s Open champion Davison became the first rider to successfully retain the overall crown in the LIMBC series.
Five-time Asian Championship mountain bike champion Yamamoto described his victory as a new dawn for the Asian mountain bike scene.
“I hope my victory here against some of the top mountain bike riders in the world is the start of more good things to come from Asian riders,” he said.
“When I began as a pro rider, there were only a handful of Asians from Japan, South Korea and Kazakhstan who competed in the world class events. Now, there is a boom in Asian riders and I think it is just a matter of time before we are able to vie for the top honours in the world.”
The 28-year-old from Hokkaido will now turn his sights to winning one of the prestigious World Cup series legs.
“I have proven my worth at the Asian level, and this victory in Langkawi shows I’m able to compete with the best. I am giving myself two years to win in the World Cup,” said the lanky Japanese rider.
In yesterday’s Stage 5 race, yellow jersey holder Yamamoto, who held a 2:47 lead, stuck to his strategy of keeping pace with the leading group and finished fourth.
His closest challenger, Emil Lindgren of Giant Pro XC Team, took second placing, but could only finish five seconds ahead of Yamamoto.
Lindgren’s team-mate Fabian Giger won the 10-lap stage 5 race around a 1.6km muddy circuit in 34:13.
In the women’s event, Davison defended her pink jersey after producing another powerful performance in the final stage.
In the rain-shortened race, the American narrowly lost to Giant Pro XC Team’s Maja Wloszczowska in a sprint to the finish, but retained the overall title with a comfortable lead of almost six minutes.
“Despite being the defending champion, nothing was guaranteed to me because of the tough competition and every race was closely fought,” said Davison, who won US$10,000 (RM31,800) for her efforts.
“There is something about Langkawi which brings out the very best in me. Probably it is because the type of races and the muddy courses are similar to my hometown Vermont. I would love to come back next year to gun for a third straight title.”
Yamamoto, who won US$15,000 (RM47,700) for his men’s overall title, also took home an extra US$500 (RM1,590) as the best Asian male rider in the championships.
The best Asian female rider award and its US$500 prize money went to Indonesia’s Kusmawati Yazid, who beat out Malaysia’s top hope Masyizaton Radzi to the title.
Marzio Deho of Cicli Olympia and Mads Bodker of Davinci Specialized both won their Stage 5 races yesterday to be crowned the men’s Masters and senior Masters overall champions respectively.
LIMBC patron and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave away the prizes.
Tags / Keywords:
Kohei Yamamoto, Lea Davison, Specialized Racing Team, Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge, Giant Pro XC Team, cycling, mountain bike
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