Anthony Giacoppo made it two wins for Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers in the 2013 Jelajah Malaysia, outsprinting Mohd Harrif Salleh to take today’s 206.3km stage from Johor Bharu to Melaka.
IMAGES: Mokhriz Aziz (UCI AsiaTour photographer)
WORDS: Shamshul Fitri (Journalist, The Star)
Giacoppo made full use of the slight rise at the finish line to outpower Mohd Harrif, who was troubled by a slight stomach problem, to claim the stage in 5.03:23”. Loh Sea Keong of OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling retained the leader’s yellow jersey after finishing in the bunch, clocking the same time as Giacoppo.
“The profile suited me well because I managed to sneak in to the front due to the course. And the slight rise at the finish is perfect for me because I can launch my attack early. But I have to thank Harrif too for giving me some inside tips about the finish, because he did tell me about the slight rise to the finish,” said Giacoppo, in jest. “It feels great to have won, as we came here with the intention of winning some stages.”
OCBC was in control for much of the stage today in their quest to retain the leader’s yellow jersey until the end. Support came in the form of Terengganu Cycling who were aiming for a bunch sprint. The only break that was allowed some time at the front was of Tural Isgandarov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project), Mohamed Mansoor (Bahrain National Team), Ronald Oranza (LBC-MVPSF Cycling Pilipinas) and Sota Ikebe (Matrix Powertag) after 82km of racing.
Oranza, 2’03” down on GC, was the most dangerous man in the break, but the quartet was only allowed a maximum 4’35” gap before the peloton, led by OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling, clamped down on their lead.
Fifteen kilometres out from the finish at Jalan Tun Kudu, another 13-man break got away. The group, in which most teams had a representative, included Kazushige Kuboki (Matrix Powertag), 59” seconds in arrears of Loh Sea Keong. For this reason, however strong the break appeared, its eventual capture was imminent; and so it occurred within the final 5km of racing. The final undulating kilometres, with its many bends, proved to be decisive for sprinters aiming for the win.
“It was nothing short of a difficult stage for us,” said Loh, relieved his team managed to hold on for the day on the race’s longest stage. “We will defend the jersey as hard as we can. Tomorrow, we will be the subject of a number of attacks from teams, but we will be ready for it.”
“The boys gave everything they had to keep Sea Keong in the GC lead,” said OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling team manager, Justin Cheong. “They all want Sea Keong to win the yellow jersey as badly as he does. This would be a massive step forward for the team and for Sea Keong himself. The boys will burn every ounce of energy they have to try to make it happen in the last stage of the race.”
Jason Christie (OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team) | 13th in stage 4, 10th on GC at 1’42″
“Today would probably be described by the whole peleton as one long hot day. With temperatures of 40 degrees for the longest stage of the race – 215km, including the neutral – we had our work cut out for us. We tried to ride a little bit differently at the start of the race which could mean the (OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team) boys would have an easier ride, but it was not to be. After 60km or so, three guys went clear; a few OCBC riders and three guys from Polygon joined around the 170km mark. From there, it was attack after attack all the way to the finish with groups going and coming back constantly until the break was caught. In the end the stage finished in a bunch sprint, won by Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers. Congrats to them! Long day out but the team managed to hold the lead on GC with one stage remaining.”
Individual General Classification (Yellow jersey): Loh Sea Keong (OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team)
Points Classification (Green jersey): Mohd Harrif Salleh (Terengganu Cycling Team)
Best Asian Rider Classification (Blue jersey): Loh Sea Keong (OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team)
Best Malaysian Rider Classification (White jersey): Loh Sea Keong (OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Mohd Zamri Salleh (Terengganu Cycling Team)
Teams General Classification: OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team
FULL RESULTS SHEET (PDF) HERE
STAGE 4 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FOUR