Feb 25, 2013


GENTING HIGHLANDS, Monday 25 February 2013 - Team Nippo-De Rosa's Julian Arredondo won Stage 5 of Le Tour de Langkawi 2013 to claim the yellow jersey as the new overall leader of the race at the end of the Tour's toughest stage from the Proton Centre of Excellence in Subang Jaya  to Genting Highlands today.

The 25-year old from Colombia was in second place overall prior to the 110.3 kilometre stage which he completed in 3 hours 11 minutes and 41 seconbds, 26 seconds ahead of Orica-GreenEdge's Pieter Weening in second place and 44 in front of RTS Racing's Victor Nino.

The previous yellow jersey holder Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang Cycling Team), who had a 2 minutes and 43 seconds advantage over Arredondo, only managed to finish 20th and dropped to fifth overall.

Arrendondo who had 20 points in the mountains classification at the start of the stage, added 25 points to his tally to also grab the king of the mountains red jersey from Meiyin.

However, Meiyin still remained in the lead of the Asian riders' classification, thanks to his powerful performance in winning the Cameron Highlands stage on Saturday.

The blue jersey of the points classification leader remained with Astana's Andrea Guardini for another day after the Italian took charge of it when he finished second to Francesco Chicchi in a bunch sprint that ended Stage 4 yesterday.

Right after the official start, Orica-GreenEdge's Travis Meyer made an early breakaway attempt riding solo and opened up a nine minute gap ahead of the peloton and took the mountains hot spot in Bukit Cerakah and three intermediate sprints at Coalfields, PAya Jaras and Gombak, before being caught by the peloton when the climbing began at Genti8ng Sempah.

As expected the climbers waited for the Genting stage before making their big moves and Arredondo, accompanied by his teammate Fortunato Baliani led the front group of 22 riders when they began the final part of the climb at Gohtong Jaya, 10km from the finish.

"I was just watching how the yellow jersey (Meiyin) was behaving today before making my move. I had my teammate Baliani with me and we jumped to attack with 10km to go when we saw that Meiyin had been dropped," said Arredondo.

"This is my biggest win to date. I had won some races as an amateur in Italy and I only turned professional with Team Nippo last year, when I won the Japan Cup.

"Now I have a comfortable lead at the front and I hope my teammates will be able to control the race in the remaining stages."

Meanwhile, Meiyin, who did not get much help from his teammates in the climb, admitted that he was disdappointed in losing the yellow jersey after winning the Cameron Highlands stage.

"I must admit that there are other stronger climbers here but I am satisfied with giving my best so far," said Meiyin.

Guardini, who finished 101st, can't wait to get back to the flat stages where he is targeting his first win in this year's race to add to his record 11 wins achieved in the past two editions.

"Tomorrow is the longest stage and there might be some breakaway attempts, but the final four stages are flat and we can expects some bunch sprints.

"I hope to retain my points classification jersey and at least one stage by the end of the race."

Stage 6 tomorrow is the longest stage of this year's race covering 217.8km from Mentakab to Kuantan with three intermediate sprints in Jerantut, Bandar Jengka and Maran and three mountains hot spots in Sungai Piul, Kota Gelanggi and Jengka.

The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. 

The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

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