February 13/99 7:20 am - Tour of Langkawi Stage 11
Posted by Editor on 02/13/99
Lanfranchi Takes Yellow Jersey
Today was expected to result in a complete shuffle in the standings, and it did not fail to deliver. Two riders from a six rider breakaway that included Canadian Eric Wohlberg took 1-2 on the stage, but the battle for the leaders jersey was between Paolo Lanfranchi (Mapei) and Serguei Ivanov (TVM), with Lanfranchi getting the nod. Wohlberg finished 6th on the stage, after being caught while in third only a kilometre from the line.
The 126 kilometre stage began in Tapah at 50 metres above sea level, and ended at the resort town of Genting Highlands, with an elevation of 2000 metres. The elevation gain was entirely in the last 25 kilometres, with a brutal climb up into the clouds that boasted grades in excess of 10% for the last 5 kilometres.
The break that shaped the race went away early - at the 4 kilometre mark. In the break were Wohlberg, Martin Muller (Agro-Adler), Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner), Marcus Ljungquist (Cantina Tollo), Vleriy Titov (Kazakhstan) and Musairi Musa (Malaysia). Wohlberg was the highest placed rider in the group, but he was 15:36 down on the leader, so there was not too much concern back in the bunch. And thus, the time gap began to grow - 10 seconds at 7 kilometres, 40 seconds at 10K, 4 minutes at 40 kilometres, 11:30 by 65K and nearly 14 minutes at the 80 kilometre mark. At this point the pack began to reel them in a little bit, and the gap was back to 11 minutes as the riders started the climb.
Two kilometres into the climb the first of the breakaways was gone off the back - Titov. Muller disappeared 11 kilometres into the climb. With 7 kilometres left, and as the 4 remaining leaders started to hit steep switchbacks, Ljungquist launched an attack. Musa was dropped immediately, and Wohlberg and Wrolich chased for a few hundred metres before settling into their own rythmn. Less than two kilometres later Wohlberg was dropped by Wrolich. The front two stayed well clear to take first and second for the stage, but Wohlberg was about to be scooped up from behind.
The peleton had started to shatter almost immediately on the climb. A group of 10 went clear of the field and the chase was on in ernest by 10 kilometres into the ascent. In the group were alot of big hitters - Paolo Lanfranchi, Rinaldo Nocentini and Fred Rodriguez for Mapei, Serguei Ivanov and Sergei Ouchakov of TVM, yellow jersey holder Alessandro Petacchi (Navigare-Gaerne), Ole Sigurd Simensen (Agro), Allan Iacuone (Linda McCartney), Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) and Michael Andersson and Danny Jonasson (both Acceptcard). Canadian Czeslaw Lukaszewicz was in the next group, but losing ground fast. The chase group continued to gain on the leaders, and continued to shrink. At the 6 kilometre mark the yellow jersey was gone, and now it was between Lanfranchi and Ivanov. Ivanov had to set the pace, and drop Lanfranchi if possible, since the Mapei rider only needed 8 seconds over Petacchi to take the leaders jersey, and Ivanov had to beat Lanfranchi by at least 25 seconds to take the lead himself.
Wohlberg was starting to look vulnerable as they entered the last couple of kilometres - some of the steepest climbing of the race. He was caught and dropped by Ivanov and Lanfranchi, and then by Simensen. He caught back on with a kilometre and a half to go, but was then dropped for good as the riders entered the last kilometre. Ivanov took the third podium position ahead of Lanfranchi, but only by 5 seconds - not enough to stop the Italian rider from donning yellow. Simensen finished 5th and Wohlberg 6th, an incredibly strong ride for a rider that was considered to be 'a poor climber'.
Behind these riders the field straggled in, with the last rider being Enrico Degano of Navigare - who won two stages earlier - 41:20 down on the winner. Lukaszewicz finished 26th for the stage, and dropped one place on general classification - to 9th. Michael Barry (Saturn), who was 6th on G.C. going into the stage, succumbed to fever that has plagued him for the last week and finished 47th on the stage, dropping to 13th overall. Dominique Perras also had a bad ride, bothered by a knee problem that has affected him for the last 4 days. He lost 3 positions in the King of the Mountain competition, dropping to 8th.
Tomorrow the Tour de Langkawi concludes in Kuala Lumpur with a circuit race. Barring unforseen circumstances, the final G.C. now set.
Stage 11 - Tapah to Genting Highlands, 126 km
1. Marcus Ljungquist SWE Cantina Tollo 3:34:56
2. Peter Wrolch AUT Gerolsteiner at 1:35
3. Serguei Ivanov RUS TVM 3:34
4. Paolo Lanfranchi ITA Mapei 3:39
5. Ole Sigurd Simensen NOR Agro-Adler 3:47
6. Eric Wohlberg CAN Team Canada 4:03
26. Czeslaw Lukaszewicz CAN Team Canada 8:47
41. Sylvain Beauchamp CAN Team Canada 12:06
47. Michael Barry CAN Saturn 13:26
78. Dominique Perras CAN Team Canada 22:18
1. Lanfranchi 45:32:51
2. Ivanov at 0:26
3. Allan Iacuone AUS Linda McCartney 2:27
4. Danny Jonasson DEN Acceptcard 2:34
5. Levi Leipheimer USA Saturn 2:55
9. Lukaszewicz 5:50
13. Barry 10:17
26. Wohlberg 15:49
44. Perras 32:21
72. Beauchamp 57:56
1. Graeme Miller NZ New Zealand 108 points
2. Fred Rodriguez USA Mapei 96
3. Rinaldo Nocentini ITS Mapei 73
1. Alessandro Petacchi ITA Navigare-Gaerne 47 points
2. Ivanov 45
3. Lanfranchi 39
8. Perras 23
19. Wohlberg 8
1. Mapei 136:47:58
2. Acceptcard at 2:45
3. Saturn 4:27
7. Canada 34:25
Photos from today's stage can be found here.