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Aussie Scores – Langkawi Stage 5

Kota Bharu to Kuala Terengganu
Aussie Scores in Stage 5
Argentinean helps Aussie make it a Panaria 1-2 day at Kuala Terengannua

By Roger St. Pierre

Second over the line three times in a row, Australia’s Graeme Brown finally got his taste of victory when he streaked home to win stage five of the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi in convincing fashion. It was a success made even sweeter by having his Argentinean team-mate Ruben Bongiorno in second place.

Their orange-clad Ceramiche Panaria squad had hit the front of a heaving bunch of 127 riders with a kilometre to go. With Scott Davis and Brett Lancaster providing the perfect lead out, there was no stopping Brown and Bongiorno though Iranian rider Hassan Maleki Mizan must have been delighted with his fourth place, the highest stage placing for an Asian so far this year.

While Australia and one South American nation – Argentina – had plenty to celebrate, what about Brazil’s pocket rocket, Mendonca Pagliarini, the sensational winner of the previous three stages in a row? A look down the finishing list reveals the Brazilian in a lowly 31st place on a stage many thought he would win. He explained: “There was a bit of a twist to the course on the run in and my boys took the wrong line and lost their place in the string,” said the Lampre team star, “It put us out of the running.”

Brown, not surprisingly, was delighted to at last get his reward: “The plan for the finish today was to take a no-holds-barred approach. “The team was supposed to set things up from the two-kilometre mark. It didn’t quite work out that way but as we entered the last kilometre it all came together for us and our Panaria train lined out on the front and turned the pace up so high that nobody could come around us.

“Scott Davis and Brett Lancaster did a fantastic job and when I judged it time to go I yelled for them to peel off and went flat out for the line.” Asked about the Brazilian, Brown said: “Yesterday was yesterday, today is another day. He came up to me at the finish and shook my hand. This time he was out of luck and got squeezed out of the train but for me it went right at last. I’ve worked hard for this and I’m very happy.
“Yes, I’m hopeful of winning some more sprints before we get to the big climbing stage. Bruno, the team manager, says he’s looking for another two stage victories from us, so we shall see how it pans out.”

Secure in the race leader’s yellow jersey since his victory in the race-opening time-trial stage, Saturn’s Australian star Nathan O’Neill had another good day : “Yes, we had a pretty good grip on things again on this stage, though we did get a bit worried because on the run-in the lead held by the three-man breakaway group was not tumbling quite as quickly as we would have liked. “We are being realistic. My overall lead is very narrow – just 20-seconds – but I reckon we can hold the yellow jersey as far as Genting without too much trouble. Then we will just have to wait and see how it works out.”

As usual, the action started right from the off, a split occurring within the very first kilometre, but most of the peloton were content to ride the stage at a steady if extremely fast tempo. Canada’s Gordon Fraser took the first Petronas hot spot sprint at Bukit Cina and then, just kilometres before the second sprint at Jerteh the day’s big move went clear. Spain’s Jose Manuel Maestre, in Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada colours, Italy’s erstwhile leader of the King of the Mountains competition, Fortunato Baliani of the Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave’ squad, and Frenchman Charles Guilbert, riding for Ville de Charleroi were to lead the race right until just eight kilometres to go, having at one time gained a lead of 5min 15sec.

At the finish today there were only two stragglers, with Telekom Malaysia’s Italian rider Simone Mori finishing 129th and last just 1min 44sec behind the winner.

Graeme Brown (Australia) Ceramiche Panaria, the 179.10km / 111.37m in 4hr 1min 46sec; Ruben Bongiorno (Argentina) Ceramiche Panaria; 3, Simone Cadamuro (Italy) De Nardi-Colpack; 4, Hassan Maleki Mizan (Iran); 5, Andrus Aug (Estonia) De Nardi-Colpack; 6, Brett Lancaster (Australia) Ceramiche Panaria, all same time.
Best Asian rider on stage: Hassan Maleki Mizan (Iran).
Best team on stage: Ceramiche Panaria.
Best Asian team on stage: Iran.

General classification
Nathan O’Neill (Australia) Saturn, 15hr 54min 33sec; 2, Roland Green (Canada), at 20sec; 3, Tom Danielson (USA) Saturn, at 24sec; 4, Eric Wohlberg (USA) Saturn, at 27sec; 5, Sergiy Matveyev (Ukraine) Ceramiche Panaria, at 31sec; 6, Hernan Dario Munoz (Colombia) Colombia-Selle Italia, at 38sec.
Best Asian rider overall: Hernan Askari (Iran).
Points leader overall: Graeme Brown (Australia) Ceramiche Panaria, 58 pts.
Overall King of the Mountains: Roland Green (Canada) 30 pts.
Best team overall: Saturn.
Best Asian team overall: Iran.

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