Tuesday February 26, 2013
Julian favourite for overall title after magnificent win
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
GENTING HIGHLANDS: Colombian Julian Arredondo virtually sealed the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) overall title after producing a magnificent ride to grab the Shah Alam-Genting Highlands Stage Five yesterday.
The 24-year-old from Team Nippo rode to his first-ever professional victory by covering the 110.3km stage in 3’11:41.
Dutchman Pieter Weening of Orica GreenEdge was second – 26 seconds. Another Colombian, Victor Nino Corredor of RTS Racing, crossed the finish line a further 44 seconds behind.
The win puts Arredondo in a comfortable lead in the overall classification after inheriting the leader’s yellow jersey from Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang Cycling.
Arredondo has a 1:22 advantage over Weening and 2:10 over Sergio Pardilla of MTN Qhubeka.
Meiyin finished the stage 5:13 behind Arredondo in 20th spot and currently sits fifth overall – 2:40 behind.
“This is the most memorable win for me and I hope this’ll mean a lot more success in the future,” said Arredondo. “I turned professional last year and had a good result in the Tour of Japan last year, where I finished second overall ... so this means a lot to me.”
Orica GreenEdge’s Travis Meyer initiated a solo breakaway in the early part of the race and enjoyed a lead of up to 9:03 on the peloton.
However, Meyer’s lead quickly dissolved in the final 20km as teams reined them in.
At the foot of the Hors category climb (1,699m), a select group of 35 riders – including Arredondo, Corredor, Weening, Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Yonnatha Monsalve (Vini Fantini) and Meiyin – pulled away from the peloton.
The leading group of 35 was strung out on the steep climb, driven by Arredondo’s team-mate Fortunato Baliani in front, leaving just 10 riders in the group with five kilometres to go. That was when Meiyin dropped out of contention.
“We decided to wait and see how the yellow jersey (Meiyin) will play his cards today and when the front group managed to lose him, we decided to go for the win,” said Arredondo, who was 2:43 behind Meiyin in second place at the start of yesterday’s stage.
Arrendondo then made his move with four kilometres to go to the finish line.
“I was doing the job of pulling the small group at the front ... and when I asked Arredondo to do his bit, he just took off,” said Weening, who won a mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia in 2011 with Rabobank. “It was a good day for us when he had Meyer in the break. But you know it’s going to be chased down easily when it comes to a climb this steep.”
The 217.5km Stage 6 from Mentakab to Kuantan today is the longest stage in the LTdL this year.