Perez presses his claim for title

MALACCA: The 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Eric Wohlberg (pic) of Canada, won the fifth stage of the Tour of Langkawi, an 18km individual time trial, here yesterday. 

Wohlberg, racing against cross and headwinds towards the final phases, clocked 21:38.74 to finish ahead of Colombia Selle-Itallia's Marlon Perez (21:51.91). 

“Although I was riding against a headwind I just kept powering to the finishing line,” said Wohlberg. 

However, Colombian Perez, who had been one of the most consistent riders so far, moved into the lead in the overall standings, taking the yellow jersey from teammate Freddy Gonzalez. 

The 28-year-old Perez has a total time of 14'07:18 and holds a 32-second lead over Relax Bodysol rider, Hector Guerra Garcia while Gonzalez dropped to third place. 

“I felt very good today. It's the second time trial of the year for me and I finished second both times,” said Perez, winner of the Vuelta a Tachira Tour in Venezuela early this year. 

In the King of Mountains competition, Colombia Selle-Itallia riders continued to dominate the top positions. 

Perez retained the red polka-dot jersey for the fourth day with 31 points, ahead of teammates Ruber Marin (28) and Gonzalez (20) respectively. 

“I will need to use a bit of psychology on my two lads. It is natural that they both want to win but the danger is when they do not ride to a common purpose, someone else could sneak in to win,” said team manager Gianni Savio on the rivalry between Perez and Gonzalez. 

In the sprint competition, Gordon Fraser of Health Net Pro retained the blue jersey for the third day running. 

His 45 points gave him a nine-point advantage over closest challenger Perez (36). 

“I have been feeling very good in the sprints and concentrated on going for the intermediates rather than stage wins,” said Fraser. 

Iranian rider Ghader Mizbani maintained his stranglehold on the red-blue jersey as the best Asian rider with his consistent performance. His total time of 14'10:03 was 58 seconds ahead of Wismilak star, Tonton Susanto. 

Mizbani is also in a commendable 17th position in the overall classification, trailing leader Perez by 2:45. 

Meanwhile, Shahrulneeza Razali is still Malaysia's best rider, remaining in fifth position in the Asian rider category. Shahrulneeza finished in 82nd place yesterday, 2:04 slower than Wohlberg. – Bernama 


* 18km individual time trial 

Top 10 finishers: 1. Eric Wohlberg (Can) 21:38.74, 2. Marlon Perez (Colombia Selle-Itallia) 21:51.91, 3. John Lieswyn (Health Net Pro) 21:59.85, 4. Hector Guerra Garcia (Relax Bodysol) 22:00.59, 5. Russel Van Hout (Colombia Selle-Itallia) 22:13.91, 6. David George (Barloworld) 22:25.79,  

7. Gregory Henderson (Health Net Pro) 22:26.30, 8. Tiaan Kannemeyer (Barloworld) 22:31.72, 9. Ben Day (Palmans-Collstrop) 22:34.36, 10. Daryl Impey (Rsa) 22:34.63. 

Malaysian finishers: 82. Shahrulneeza Razali 24:31.78, 118. Mahadzir Hamad 25:26.17, 120. Sayuti Zahit 25:28.65, 122. Musairi Musa 25:45.02, 126. Sazlee Ismail 26:12.63, 127. Nor Effandy Rosli 26:16.80. 


    Overall riders:

  • 1. Perez 14'07:18, 2. Garcia 14'07:50, 3. Freddy Gonzalez (Colombia Selle-Itallia) 14'08:00, 4. Ryan Cox (Barloworld) 14'08:05, 5. Nicholas White (Rsa) 14'08:15, 6. Kennemeyer 14'08:31, 7. Kurt Van De Wouwer (Palmans-Collstrop) 14'08:34, 8. George 14'08:49, 9. Dave Bruylandts (Chocolade Jacques) 14'09:15, 10. Javier Florencio Cabre (Relax Bodysol) 14'09:21. 

    Asian riders: 1. Ghader Mizbani (Iri) 14'10:03, 2. Tonton Susanto (Wismilak) 14'11:01, 3. Ahad Kazemi (Iri) 14'11:14, 4. Tomoya Kano (Jpn) 14'12:16, 5. Shahrulneeza Razali (Mas) 14'13:59,  

    6. Yasutaka Tashiro (Jpn) 14'15:08, 7. Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) 14'16:17, 8. Victor Espiritus (Pagcor Casino) 14'18:27, 9. Rhyan Tanguilig (Pagcor Casino) 14'18:34, 10. Yoshiyuki Abe (Jpn) 14'20:26. 

    Overall teams: 1. Barloworld 42'23:06, 2. Colombia Selle-Itallia 42'24:44, 3. Relax Bodysol 42'26:31, 4. Canada 42'31:22, 5. Lampre 42'31:26, 6. South Africa 42'31:45, 7. Chocolade Jacques 42'33:07, 8. De-Nardi 42'34:14, 9. Palmans-Collstrop 42'35:56, 10. Ireland 42'41:52. 

    Asian teams: 1. Japan 42'42:15, 2. Iran 42'50:33, 3. China 42'56:24, 4. Pagcor-Casino 42'57:20, 5. Malaysia 42'72:09, 6. Wismilak 43'25:45. 

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