JASIN: Venezuelan Jonnatha Monsalve of Androni Giocattoli has turned the tables on Libardo Nino Corredor of Le Tua and holds a two-second lead in the individual general classification over the Colombian.
In the eighth stage from Kuala Pilah to Jasin that was won by Robert Forster of Unitedhealthcare yesterday, Monsalve managed to steal four seconds of time bonuses after he emerged second in two intermediate sprints (Bahau and Gemencheh).
Going into the race, Monsalve trailed Corredor by two seconds but the Venezuelan powered through the rain and hilly terrain to grab the yellow jersey.
Both riders sat in the main bunch but the windows of opportunities were present for Monsalve when no sprinters in the points classification showed interest in the two intermediate sprints.
“After the first intermediate sprint, I was equal on time with Corredor. In the second, I decided to go ahead and sprinted for a better time bonus,” said Monsalve
“I’m very pleased with my position now but I can’t say that I’m already the winner in the Tour. There will be two stages more and I have to defend my lead well.”
Corredor and his Le Tua team-mates sat close with Monsalve throughout the race and the Colombian even managed to cross the intermediate sprint zone in Gemencheh in fourth place.
However, no time bonus was awarded to the fourth-place rider.
Heavy rain throughout the race prevented most riders from making countless breakaways like in the previous stages, as visibility was severely reduced.
In the mass sprint towards the finish line where Forster emerged victorious, blue jersey holder Andrea Guardini of Fernese Vini-NeriSottoli finished fourth to strengthened his stake in the standings on 96 points.
Closest rival Anuar Manan of Terengganu Cycling could only finish in 11th spot but remains second in the standings on 75 points.
Rahim Emami of Azad University remains as the best Asian rider while the red jersey for the King of the Mountain competition remains with Monsalve.
Meanwhile, Monsalve is still wary of competition from Corredor as it took him two days before he could wrest the yellow jersey from the Colombian.
“I have to say that it was difficult for me to overtake Corredor in the general classification. And now it will be harder for me to defend my lead,” he said.
“I really want to keep the jersey and until I cross the finish line in Kuala Lumpur, I have to be careful.”
n Stage 8 (Kuala Pilah-Jasinm 151.7km)
Top 10 finishers: 1. Robert Forster (Ger) Unitedhealthcare 3’23:32, 2. Andre Schulze
(Ger) CCC Polsat Polkowice, 3. Dene Rogers (Nzl) Giant Kenda, 4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Fernese Vini-Neri Sottoli, 5. Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) Tabriz Petrochemical, 6. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Skil Shimano, 7. Jang Chan-jae (Kor), 8. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet, 9. Elia Favilli (Ita) Fernese Vini-Neri Sottoli, 10. Mohd Harrif Salleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling.
Individual general classification (yellow jersey): 1. Jonnatha Monsalve (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 25’03:12, 2. Libardo Nino Corredor (Col) Le Tua two seconds behind, 3. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 21, 4. Dennis Van Niekerk (Rsa) MTN Qhubeka 23, 5. Rahim Emami (Iri) Azad University 24.
Points classification (blue jersey): 1. Guardini 96, 2. Anuar Manan (Mas) Terengganu Cycling 75, 3. Shpilevsky 65, 4. Schulze 55, 5. Chan-jae 47.
King of the Mountain (red jersey): 1. Monsalve 45, 2. Rahim Emami 35, 3. Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil Shimano 30, 4. Corredor 28, 5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago CSF-Inox 25.
Best Asian rider (white jersey): 1. Rahim Emami 25’03:36, 2. Hossein Askari (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 30 seconds behind, 3. Gong Hyo-suk (Kor), 4. Ghader Mizbani (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 48, 5. Amir Zargari (Iri) Azad University 1:52.