Today the TDL stage 5 is 124km long but it will be most riders nightmare as race will climb up the Genting Highland gaining almost 1700 meters in less than 25 km, with some sections of the road more than 15% gradient. The race started in the town of Tapah, the weather again was overcast at the start and heavy rain plus wind was reported up the slopes of the Genting.
Immediately from the gun, Terengganu Pro-Asia rider Harrif Salleh attacked out of peloton like a rocket, but the solo move was too early to succeed and eventually was reeled back after several kilometers. A group of 6 riders including Loh Sea Keong of Malaysian team (that is 3 days in a role) got away and build 3 minutes gap. The new yellow jersey Asian racing team was controlling the peloton. By the time escapees reached the bottom of the climb, only 1 sole rider from Korea team was determined to fight on but was reeled in half way up the climb. Since the Genting climb was much steeper than yesterday’s road, the peloton broke up almost immediately when the road got steeper. The yellow jersey was isolated as his teammates dropped off one by one. Harrif and Anuar settled into the “sprinter group” saving their legs for tomorrow’s drag race in Putra Jaya. Shinichi still covered in bandages is getting better but far from 100%, he climbed at steady pace and also saving his legs until he fully recovered for later stage attacks.
Meanwhile with about 10km still to go to the top, the front peloton was down to just about 30+ riders which including Phuchong, Mat Amin and Saufi for Terengganu Pro-Asia. As the road really kicking up over 10% there were many attacks from each team’s top climbers, the yellow jersey could not follow the pace any longer. Phuchong and Mat Amin were also fighting hard to stay with the elite climbers but were eventually dropped but both finished in respectable 40 and 41st position loosing only about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, TSG’s Saufi at age of just 20 and 1st time racing at this level, spinning his legs like a man (or boy) possessed and following the 1st group of very selected climbers of just 20 riders through the brutal rain, gusty wind and dense fog, the temperature was around 15. It was hard to image the race is in Malaysia, more like images out of a hor stage in Giro. Later Saufi told reporters that he just imaged he was Lance racing up the Alps in miserable condition. Saufi was dropped from the super climbers only less than 4 km from the summit, but he was still riding with guys like Alex Howes and Kirk Carlsen of Chipotle Development Team, lost only 2 minutes to stage winner. TSG’s 3 climbers lifted TSG to 8th team placing overall ahead of much bigger and more established teams like Colnago CSF, Skil Shimano, Landbouwkrediet, United Healthcare, etc.
Danny FengPro Asia
Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team
More photos from missjewelz compact camera : HERE 🙂
More awesome shots from Cycling Asia heavy SLR and expensive lens : HERE 🙂