Sunday February 24, 2013
Wang hits the big time
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Hengxiang Cycling rider Wang Meiyin (pic) left the peloton in his wake on his way to win Stage Three of the Le Tour de Langkawi yesterday.
The Chinese rider completed the tough Hors category from Sungai Siput to Cameron Highlands, covering 140.7km in 3’50:01. Colombian Julian Arredondo of Team Nippo was 2:37 behind in second place while Australian Nathan Haas of Garmin-Sharp came third, trailing by 3:11.
Meiyin now leads the overall classification, a 2:43 lead over Arredondo.
It was an amazing effort from Meiyin. He broke clear with four other riders from the get-go and was never troubled throughout the flat terrain of Sungai Siput to the mountain top.
It was the Asians who took the initiative with Meiyin, Mohd Harrif Salleh of Terengganu Cycling, Loh Sea Keong and Ho Junrong of OCBC Singapore and South Korean Seo Joon-yong of KSPO setting the early pace. Sea Keong took the first intermediate sprint in Ipoh while Harrif bagged both sprints in Kampar and Tapah.
Meiyin, who won the King of the Mountains competition in the Tour of Hainan last year, then went solo from the foot of the climb up Cameron Highlands. He was so commanding that at one time he held an eight-minute lead.
Meiyin was ecstatic with his win.
“I’m very happy today. This is probably the most memorable day for me,” said Meiyin.
“I had planned to go for an early break today. But I think nobody ever thought I could go on and win the stage,” he added.
Today’s Stage Four is another gruelling race from Tapah to Kapar covering a distance of 168km.
Yonnatha Monsalve, the 2011 overall winner, believes the real battle for the overall crown will only begin in tomorrow’s 110.3km Stage Five from Shah Alam to Genting Highlands.
The 23-year-old Venezuelan trails Meiyin by 3:35 in the overall standings after finishing sixth yesterday.
“The climb there (Genting Highlands) is a bit different ... much steeper. My legs are feeling good and I’m hoping to give a maximum effort in Genting.
“I think I still have a chance to win the overall title,” said Monsalve, who rides for Vini Fantini.
Sungai Siput-Cameron Highlands (140.7km): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 3’50:01, 2. Julian Arredondo (Col) Team Nippo 2:27 behind, 3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 3:11, 4. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica Green Edge same time, 5. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Green Edge 3:13, 6. Yonnatha Monsalve (Ven) Vini Fantini, 7. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 8. Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Team Nippo, 9. Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) MTN Qhubeka — all same time.
Selected: 33. Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) Champion System 6:05 behind.
Leading overall standings: 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 10’44:44, 2. Julian Arrendondo (Col) Team Nippo 2:43 behind, 3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 3:29, 4. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica Green Edge 3:33, 5. Chad Beyer (US) Champion System 3:35, 6. Yonnatha Monsalve (Ven) Vini Fantini, 7. Dennis van Niekerk (Rsa) MTN Qhubeka, 8. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Green Edge, 9. Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) MTN Qhubeka, 10. Fortunato Baliani (Col) Team Nippo — all same time.
Selected: 32. Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) Champion System 6:27 behind
Blue jersey: 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 36 pts, 2. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco 30, 3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana 27.
King of the Mountain (red jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 44 pts, 2. Julian Arredondo (Col) 20, 3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 16.
Best Asian rider (white jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 10’44:44, 2. Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana 3:38 behind, 3. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana same time.