February 3/03 8:51 am - Tour de Langkawi: Stage 4 Story
Posted by Editoress on 02/3/03
B>Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi
This report made possible by Human Kinetics Publishers
Stage 4:Gerik to Tanah Merah, 172.9 km/ 107.4 miles
Roland Green has thrown down the gauntlet to the other climbers. In the first real test of climbing on stage 4, Green took both Category 1 KoMs, and the lead in the Climber's competition. The end of the stage came down to a field sprint, and Mendonca Pagliarini (Lampre) took his third consecutive win. Gord Fraser finished eighth.
The first climb started 7 kilometres into the 172.4 kilometre stage. Green saw that no one was chasing a lone breakaway, and decided to attack.
"When the guy went off, no one was doing anything. I said to Peter (Wedge) that we should get up there, and he just launched off the front. I went in his slipstream and bridged up. We got a small group and I was able to get the KoM. The team had a plan to get the King of the Mountain jersey. I had exceptional teamwork from all of my team mates on Team Canada today."
The second, longer climb wasn't quite so simple. The peloton regrouped on the descent from the first climb, and Team Canada set tempo at the front, keeping the pace high. A few breakaway attempts (always including Green) didn't succeed, but with approximately 4 kilometres left to the top, Green attacked, and was joined by team mate Seamus McGrath and Colombian climber Ruber Alveiro Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia).
Green and Marin dropped McGrath, and crested the climb 1 minute up on the disintegrating peloton. This KoM came down to a tough sprint, with Green leading out from 200 metres and watching Marin carefully all the way across the line. "That was a hard fought KoM"
The lead duo were joined by 3 others on the descent, and actually increased their lead to nearly 2 minutes. But, Green and Marin weren't interested in wasting their energy for the remaining 100 kilometres, and dropped back to the peloton at the base of the descent, leaving Satoshe Hirosi (Japan) and German Nieto (Colchon Relax) out in front.
That pair stayed away until the final 4 kilometres to go, and then it was the turn of the sprinters again. Pagliarini led out, with Graeme Brown (Ceramiche Panaria) on his left. It looked like clear sailing, but the Brazilian celebrated a bit prematurely and almost lost the stage when Brown threw his bike at the line.
- Roland Green should be comfortable in the Climber's Jersey until Genting Highlands (stage 9). Stages 5, 6 and 7 each have one Category 4 climb only, and stage 8 has a Category 3 and two Category 2s. "I'm feeling good, and my legs are right there on the climbs. I'm just waiting for the 9th stage."
- You will notice in the podium shot of Roland in his Climber's Jersey that it says Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave on the front, the team of the former holder - Fortunato Baliano. The organizers quickly found another jersey...
- There is definitely bad blood between Pagliarini and Brown. Pagliarini: "After the first stage he accused me of shutting the door on him. Yesterday (stage 2) he was yelling and threatening me after the finish, and today the same. When I went to talk to him, I said 'We are both professionals and there is no need for this', and he started yelling again. I think he needs to learn how to lose as well as win." This is not surprising - Brown has a history of very aggressive riding, and caused a serious crash in the men's Points Race at the Commonwealth Games last summer.