February 14/99 7:09 am - Tour of Langkawi Stage 12
Posted by Editor on 02/14/99
Tour de Langkawi Finishes in Kuala Lumpur
In the overall scheme of the race, this final circuit race stage in Kuala Lumpur was relatively meaningless - the yellow jersey was firmly on the back of Paolo Lanfranchi of Mapei, who had a 26 second lead over Serguei Ivanov (TVM Farm Frites). The Mountain Competition was over, since there were no KOM points in this stage (won by Alessandro Petacchi of Navigare-Gaerne); the team competition was set, and a change in the Points Competion was a mathematical possibility only (Fred Rodriguez (Mapei) had to basically win everything in the stage, while leader Graeme Miller missed out totally).
So, the 12 lap, 5.8 kilometre circuit became a cruise in the park (literally, since it was around a lake and park in KL). The course was moderately difficult, with a 500 metre climb on the back side of the circuit. The heat and humidity were more ferocious - 35 degrees Celcius. The 25 kilometre ride in from the race headquarters to the start was not popular with the riders; and probably not with KL drivers, since they closed the freeway! Imagine Toronto closing the Don Valley Parkway so that a bike race and convoy could take a leisurely ride on a Sunday afternoon....
As to the stage itself - the action started on the second lap, and breakaway attempts continued all afternoon. Attempts is the operative word, since none were allowed to get more than 50 or 60 metres off the front before one of the major teams (Mapei, Navigare, TVM, Acceptcard) went to the front to chase it down. Almost ever lap someone tried, including Czeslaw Lukaszewicz on the 9th (he and a partner stayed away to claim sprint points, and were then re-absorbed). The most serious effort came right after Lukaszewicz, when Tom Leaper (Australia) and Stig Guldbaek (Acceptcard) went 12 seconds clear, and stayed away for over a lap. With a lap and a half to go Andrea Tafi (Mapei) attacked the pack just before the leaders were caught. Petaachi and Vadim Kravchenko (Kazakhstan) also attacked and bridged up to Tafi as the last lap began. This was too serious to allow, and Canada went to the front and brought them back (actually, after the race Eric Wohlberg laughed: "We wanted to bridge, but couldn't get anyone across"). So the pack was all together with 2 kilometres to go, with TVM at the front keeping the pace high for their designated sprinter Johan Capiot. However, he was swallowed in the last few hundred metres, and Luca Cei (Navigare-Gaerne) nipped Graeme Miller and Marcin Gebka (Mroz) at the line. The top Canadian finisher was Michael Barry (Saturn) in 9th.
Overall, Canada had a very strong race - the top national team in 7th place. Wohlberg had a stage win (Barry 3rd in the same stage), and a 6th in the hardest stage. Dominique Perras held the Mountain jersey for a stage, and the team had multiple top-ten results. All in all, team manager professed himself very pleased with the results (particularly, since all riders got sick during the race). Wohlberg, Lukaszewicz and Barry head to California now for the Redlands Classic in two weeks, while the rest of the team go home with a very strong base for the early North American season.
This is the final report from the Tour de Langkawi. Tomorrow I catch a plane back to Canada - Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Newark, Buffalo - arriving on Tuesday. I would like to also thank the organizers (particularly media liaison Gerry Dawson) for their assistance with this coverage.
Stage 12 - Kuala Lumpur, 70 km
1. Luca Cei ITA (Navigare-Gaerne) 1:23:27
2. Graeme Miller NZ New Zealand
3. Marcin Gebka POL Mroz
4. Rene Hasselbacher AUT Gerolsteiner
5. Enrico Degano ITA Navigare-Gaerne all s.t.
9. Michael Barry CAN Saturn
46. Dominique Perras CAN Team Canada
55. Czeslaw Lukaszewicz CAN Team Canada
69. Eric Wohlberg CAN Team Canada
83. Sylvain Beauchamp CAN Team Canada all s.t.
1. Lanfranchi 46:56:18
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
6. Morten Sonne DEN Acceptcard 3:16
7. Alessandro Petacchi ITA Navigare-Gaerne 5:31
8. Uwe Peschel GER Gerolsteiner 5:34
9. Lukaszewicz 5:50
10. Uwe Ampler GER Agro-Adler 7:12
13. Barry 10:17
26. Wohlberg 15:49
44. Perras 32:21
70. Beauchamp 57:56
1. Graeme Miller NZ New Zealand 125 points
2. Fred Rodriguez USA Mapei 105
3. Rene Hasselbacher AUT Gerolsteiner 80
1. Alessandro Petacchi ITA Navigare-Gaerne 47 points
2. Ivanov 45
3. Lanfranchi 39
8. Perras 23
19. Wohlberg 8
1. Mapei 140:58:19
2. Acceptcard at 2:45
3. Saturn 4:27
7. Canada 34:25
Photos from today's stage can be found here.