Damp conditions and a low average speed meant the sizzle was somewhat absent in Tour de Brunei’s 93.1 kilometre opening stage. Somewhat ironically, having left from the factory compound of race sponsor Butra Heidelberg Cement, it may have seemed as if riders were racing through wet cement.
Images: Mike Murano
Video: The Brunei Times
In reality, it was a lack of co-operation within the main field that allowed an 11-man break to form inside the first hour of racing, despite the lower-than-usual-for-an-AsiaTour-event pace. Two intermediate sprints and two KOM summits meant the break had more than a possible stage win as incentive to stay away.
Mohd Nor Umardi Rosdi (Terengganu Cycling Team) trailed China 361’s Muradjan Halmuratov in the first intermediate sprint at 48.5 kilometres, but the two men traded places in the final intermediate points grab, setting the scene for a green jersey tiebreaker in the final sprint – but only if the break wasn’t hunted down by the peloton, which was trailing by a minute.
By contrast, Maxime Martin (OCBC Singapore Cycling Team) had already secured his KOM jersey having gained maximum points on both of the category-four climbs. Only five of the original breakaway’s riders were left to accompany Martin off the final summit and into the closing kilometres, whilst the bunch behind clawed back time in mathematical fashion.
Rosdi, Halmuratov, Martin, Amir Kolahdoz (Tabriz Petrochemical Team), Lee Rodgers (CCN Cycling Team) and Harrif Saleh (Terengganu Cycling Team) had a lean 9″ of sunlight back to the chasing field as the finish line beckoned three kilometres westward. Inside the final kilometre, Rosdi’s group still held a similar margin ahead of a peloton jealously marshalled by Terengganu; hedging their bets in case of a last-minute pullback of Rosdi. Happily for Malaysia’s lone Continental team, Rosdi saved them the bother, with a comfortable final sprint to take the first yellow jersey of the five-day, 596 kilometre, stage race.
Individual General Classification (Yellow jersey): Mohd Nor Umardi Rosdi (Terengganu Cycling Team)
Points Classification (Green jersey): Mohd Nor Umardi Rosdi (Terengganu Cycling Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Maxime Martine (OCBC Singapore Cycling Team)
Best Young Rider Classification (White jersey): Amir Kolahdoz (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
STAGE ONE RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE ONE