Fans of professional cycling may not be able to identify with “Genting” as frequently as they might “Alpe d’Huez”. However, Genting invokes as much respect from riders as the famous hairpinned climb in France.
Triple stage winner Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini – Selle Italia) pre-empted today’s 190km stage, with its three categorized climbs, by delivering an earlier statement that he would be riding “tranquillo” until the parcours flattened again. He didn’t mention anything about his teammates.
On paper, today’s 169.4km fourth stage from Batu Pahat to Muar could have been easily underestimated as another springboard for a bunch sprint. In fact the general sentiment was exactly that. There was probably no point in getting excited if a break went up the road; it would only be reeled in. All so predictable.
Distance aside, today’s 187.6km stage could easily be reported as a carbon copy of yesterday; oppressive heat and humidity, early attacks by Asian Continental teams, a small breakaway forming and staying away all day only to be enveloped by the peloton with a few kilometres remaining.
Today’s start point was a 68km transfer from the team’s hotel and riders were expected to assemble there by 9am; that’s roughly when breakfast commences at European stage races. Welcome to pro cycling in Asia.
With only one major climb featured over the ten days of racing in Malaysia, today’s individual time trial was all about positioning; both chronologically and psychologically. A well-conditioned rouleur could potentially snare a time gap that would secure the leader’s jersey for good.
It’s the day prior to Stage One of the Tour de Langkawi and the media is captivated by the teams presentation – literally, we’re captivated. We’ve been driven half an hour from our hotel, dropped at the roadside and will remain here until the sponsors get their worth of coverage. Fortunately, I couldn’t be happier.
Having recently concluded hosting of the 2012 Asian Cycling Championships, Malaysia is poised to deliver its 17th Tour de Langkawi. The 2012 edition of this 2.HC Asia Tour stage race brings back the Individual Time Trial for the first time since 2006 and features the “people’s favourite” Genting Highlands climb.
Last week, 26 of Asia’s 40 National Cycling Federations gathered in Putrajaya, Malaysia to compete across track and road cycling disciplines at the 2012 Asian Cycling Championships. Today, the Elite Men’s road race, closed the 11 day program.
While cycling fans have been (understandably) absorbed by the 2012 professional road cycling season – with recent racing in France, Qatar, Italy and Oman – the 32nd Asian Cycling Championships & 19th Junior Asian Cycling Championships have been taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.