As expected, Iran’s Tabriz Petrochemical Team and Malaysia’s Terengganu Cycling Team have been asserting themselves as key favourites in the general classification but, at the race’s mid-way point, the Vietnamese team of second-placed Duc Tam Trinh is showing itself to be no easy pushover.
Images: Mike Murano
Four of the six riders from Vietnam’s national squad started today’s 96.5 kilometre stage inside the top twenty on general classification, which has put them in second place on the overall team’s classification. Not so impressive is the performance of Brunei’s national team, with coach Yafiz Jamaludin conceding his objectives of a high overall placing are now unlikely to be met.
Terengganu presided over the peloton from the outset, ensuring early breakaway attempts were snuffed out but they were willing to let Muhamad Nur Fathnoni (Customs Cycling Club) and Vadim Shaekhov (China 361° Cycling Team) get away. The pair were soon joined by an additional five riders, including Vietnam’s Thanh Tam Nguyen, Lloyd Lucien Reynante (7 Eleven presented by Roadbike Philippines), Boonratanathanakorn Thurakit (Thailand National Team) and Irish Vallenzuela (American Vinyl/LPGMA).
Nguyen placed second and third in the two intermediate sprints (at 66.5km and 80.5km respectively), moving into third in the overall points competition behind Terengganu’s Harrif Saleh. The group built a lead of over one minute, but the sunny conditions and KOM-free parcours meant their chances of staying away were slim. The main field continued to hover aft in calculated proximity, easily gaining contact with the seven runaways with less than 10 kilometres remaining. In winning the bunch sprint, Askari gave little doubt he is the strongest in the race. It is now Tabriz’s race to lose.
Individual General Classification (Yellow jersey): Hossein Askari (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
Points Classification (Green jersey): Mohd Harrif Saleh (Terengganu Cycling Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Maxime Martine (OCBC Singapore Cycling Team)
Best Young Rider Classification (White jersey): Duc Tam Trinh (Vietnam National Team)
Best team: Tabriz Petrochemical Team
STAGE THREE RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE THREE