LANGKAWI: Team Saturn of the United States made a great start in the eighth edition of the Tour of Langkawi when their rider Nathan O'Neill won the time trial race here yesterday.
The Australian-born rider clocked 11 minutes and 53.20 seconds to win the race, to take the yellow jersey awarded to the overall stage winner.
O'Neill also took the green jersey after clocking the fastest time in the event. After winning stage one, he now has 15 points.
Victory came as no big surprise for the sprint specialist who also won the time trial event in the 2001Tour in Shah Alam.
“It was a good start although the race's route was tough. I am proud to be back in the race again and hope to continue performing well in the next stage of the Tour,” he told reporters.
O'Neill said the Tour of Langkawi was getting tougher with each year as all the riders were now well geared for the Tour.
Second in the 9.5km race was Roland Green of the Canadian national team. He was timed at 12'16.33s, 23.13 seconds behind O'Neill. Saturn's Tom Danielson was third on 12'17.19s.
The polka-dot jersey awarded to the climbs winner went to Fortunato Beliani of Team Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave (FOT) Italy while the Asian category went to Hossain Askari of Iran who clocked 13'00.60s.
Tonton Susanto of Team Telekom Malaysia was one second behind Hossain for the blue jersey awarded to the leading cyclist in the Asian category.
Malaysia's Musairi Musa was placed 114th overall on 14'00.43s.
The Tour will enter its second stage today.
The riders will take off from Kangar in Perlis before finishing in Butterworth, Penang covering a distance of 148.3km.
After the race yesterday, the cavalcade toured Perlis.
The fleet of 42 vehicles also made stopovers at several locations along the Malaysia-Thai border including the town of Padang Besar. – Bernama
First stage: 1. Nathan O'Neill (Saturn) 11:53.20, 2. Roland Green (Can) 12:16.33, 3. Tom Danielson (Saturn) 12:17.19, 4. Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 12:21.73, 5. Sergiy Matveyev (Panaria) 12:24.31, 6. Hernan Dario Munoz (Selle Italia) 12:31.21, 7. Martinez Gonzalez (Selle Italia) 12:32.37, 8. Gordon Fraser (Canada) 12:37.82, 9. Seamus McGrath (Can) 12:38.15, 10. Domingo Fernandez (Colchon Relax) 12:38.89.
Leading standings: 1. Nathan O'Neill (Saturn) 15 pts, 2. Roland Green (Canada) 14, 3. Tom Danielson (Saturn) 13, 4. Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 12, 5. Sergiy Matveyev (Panaria) 11, 6. Hernan Dario Munoz (Selle Italia) 10, 7. Martinez Gonzalez (Selle Italia) 9, 8. Gordon Fraser (Canada) 8, 9. Seamus McGrath (Canada) 7, 10. Domingo Fernandez (Colchon Relax) 6.
Leading Asian riders: 1. Hossain Askari (Irn), 2. Tonton Susanto (Telekom Malaysia), 3. Alireza Haghi (Irn), 4. Ghader Mizbani (Telekom Malaysia), 5. Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn), 6. Tomoya Kano (Jpn), 7. Hidenori Nodera (Jpn), 8. Ahad Kazemi (Irn), 9. Satoshi Hirose (Jpn), 10. Koki Shimbo (Jpn).