Posted by Editor on 02/12/99
Little Change On Stage 10
It should have been a day for big changes in the overall standings, but instead all that happened was a slight shuffle, with Alessandro Petacchi (Navigare-Gaerne) leapfrogging over Morten Sonne (Acceptcard) and Paolo Lanfranchi (Mapei) to take the yellow jersey by a scant 2 seconds. Other than that, there was no change in the top ten (in the top 13, for that matter).
This tenth stage inland from Pasir Mas to Gerik featured 2 Category 1 climbs and a Category 2 (the riders would go from an elevation of 35 metres to 1000 metres and back down again), plus rain was again falling heavily at the start - factors that suggested the race would blow open. It did begin that way, with two riders dropping the bunch at the 6 kilometre mark - Marcin Gebka (Mroz) and David Lee (Australia). Their gap grew very quickly, reaching a maximum of 8:30 by the 55 kilometre mark. However, at this point the pack began to take notice and began to reel them back in. As the front duo hit the base of the main climb, the gap was down to 4:34, and continued to drop over the next 30 kilometres of climbing, so that by the first KOM (King of the Mountain) sprint Gebka and Lee were all but captured (and were in fact brought back only a few metres later).
A more serious break developed almost immediately, as the racers continued to climb towards the second Category 1 KOM. Grzegorz Wajs (Mroz), Michael Andersson (Acceptcard), Ole Simensen (Agro-Adler), Rinaldo Nocentini (Mapei), Bart Bowen (Saturn) and Massimo Giunti (Cantina Tollo) set a strong pace, with Wajs and Nocentini dropping back fairly quickly. By the second KOM the group was over a minute up, and continued to pad their lead, reaching 2:45 up on the peleton at the 150 kilometre mark - at the base of the final Cat. 2 climb. The sun had come out at this point, and the decimated pack of 65 started to ride a bit more aggressively. Up until this point all five Canadians had been in the pack, however, Sylvain Beauchamp suffered a broken chain right after the third points sprint of the day, and eventually finished nearly 23 minutes back.
The chasing peleton split on the climb, and race leader Sonne had to chase back up to the front after suffering a flat. The lead of the break began to shrink once they were over the top of the climb. With 5 kilometres to go they were less than 20 seconds in front of the first half of a split field, and were caught inside the last 3 kilometres. This set the stage for Rinaldo Nocentini to take his second consecutive stage victory with a flyer off the front of the pack inside the last two kilometres. Petacchi managed to snatch second, and the 6 second time bonus was enough to move him from third on general classification to a 2 second lead over Sonne. Paolo Lanfranchi (Mapei), who had been only 0.4 seconds behind Sonne, got caught in the second half of the bunch to drop to third, 8 seconds off the leader.
Czeslaw Lukaszewicz (Team Canada) finished with the front part of the group, while Michael Barry (Saturn), Eric Wohlberg (Team Canada) and Dominique Perras (Team Canada) finished in the second half of the pack. There was no change to the positions of Barry and Lukaszewicz - they remain in 6th and 8th place respectively. However, both did lose a few seconds on the leaders. Perras managed to hang onto his 5th place in the KOM competition (and picked up a couple of points in the first KOM of the day), while Team Canada moved from 8th to 7th in the Team G.C.
Tomorrow the riders face the toughest climb of the race - the Hors Category (literally, Beyond Category) 25 kilometre grind up to the Genting Highlands. This should decide the final standings (on Sunday there is a relatively meaningless criterium in Kuala Lumpur). Eric Wohlberg tells of riders in previous years weaving their way back and forth across the road to get up the climb. It should be interesting...
Stage 10 - Pasir Mas to Gerik, 197 km
1. Rinaldo Nocentini ITA (Mapei) 4:53:42
2. Alessandro Petacchi ITA (Navigare-Gaerne) at 0:02
3. Marcin Gebka POL Mroz
4. Fred Rodriguez USA Mapei
5. Rene Haselbacher AUT Gerolsteiner all s.t.
12. Czeslaw Lukaszewicz CAN Team Canada s.t.
37. Michael Barry CAN Saturn 0:08
41. Eric Wohlberg CAN Team Canada
52. Dominique Perras CAN Team Canada both s.t.
92. Sylvain Beauchamp CAN Team Canada 22:59
1. Petacchi 41:54:08
2. Morten Sonne DEN Acceptcard at 0:02
3. Paolo Lanfranchi ITA Mapei 0:08
4. Levi Leipheimer USA Saturn 0:11
5. Danny Jonasson DEN Acceptcard 0:35
6. Barry 0:38
8. Lukaszewicz 0:50
31. Perras 13:50
38. Wohlberg 15:36
78. Beauchamp 49:37
1. Graeme Miller NZ 108 points
2. Rodriguez 96
3. Johan Capiot BEL TVM 68
1. Petacchi 47 points
2. Serguei Ivanov RUS TVM 29
3. Giunti 27
5. Perras 23
1. Saturn 125:44:27
2. Acceptcard at 2:55
3. Mapei 3:08
7. Canada 28:12
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