Two veterans of the sport squared off in yesterday s 197.6km Melaka Governor Cup, but it was CCN Cycling Team s resident 46 year-old Lex Nederlof who usurped Singapore s tenacious Sea Keong Loh, after the two stole away from a break in the final laps of a challenging circuit that claimed 30% of the field through attrition.
Images: Mokhriz Aziz
Inaugurated as a UCI2.2 stage race on the 2007/08 AsiaTour know then as the Melaka Chief Minister Cup the Melaka Governor s Cup, which takes place in the city of Melaka (Malacca) on the south-western coast of West Malaysia, switched format to a one-day race in 2011. One of four UCI-sanctioned Malaysian events on the 2013 AsiaTour calendar together with Tour de Langkawi, Tour of Borneo, and Tour of East Java the Governor s Cup holds a special place for Malaysia s National Cycling Federation, given they are both based in the same city.
The marginally-undulating 15.2 kilometre circuit, which in isolation may have appeared tame to the 95 starters, including riders from five neighbouring UCI Continental teams, became a gradually oppressive force as the field chewed its way through a five-hour, thirteen-lap, repetitive slog.
A 14-man break, from which Loh and Nederlof would eventually spring, stirred into action mid-way through the race. All five Continental outfits were represented in the break, though local squad Terengganu Cycling was the only team not to have two riders up the road. The odds of in-form sprinters Ronnel Hualda (Team 7 Eleven presented by Road Bike Philippines) and Anuar Manan (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) shortened as the lap count dwindled, but were blunted as the experience of Loh and Nederlof kicked in.
When the pair broke free off the front of a now 11-man group, Loh s OCBC teammate, Thomas Rabou, kept a watchful eye over the remaining riders. As it became clear that the duo had sufficient time in the last lap to be assured of at least a second place for the team, Rabou found the legs to solo away from the chase-group towards a guaranteed third place, whilst Loh narrowly succumbed in the final sprint.
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