PENAMPANG, Thursday 22 August 2013 - Iran's Tabriz Petrochemical Team (TPT) swept three titles after Mehdi Sohrabi added another stage win to their collection in the final stage of the Tour of Borneo 2013 from Kundasang to Penampang today.
Veteran Ghader Mizbani, 38, secured the overall general classification title after finishing in the seven-man breakaway that resulted in Sohrabi taking victory ahead of Uzbekistan's Ruslan Kadimov and Huon Salmon-Genesys' Joseph Cooper.
That wasn't all. Tabriz secured the top 2 spots in the final general classification with Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour finishing behind Mizbani, who also won the mountains and Asian riders' classifications.
The Iranian team also won the overall teams title by a massive 16-minutes advantage over second placed Huon Salmon-Genesys of Australia.
Tabriz had controlled the proceedings from the opening stage, even holding taking an early win through Sohrabi in Stage Three, before the race hit the decisive Stage Four, which featured the tough climbs up Gunung Emas and Kundasang.
"We had targeted Stage Four so we had prepared for that and we attacked according to plan. Today, we saw a chance for a breakaway and we tried to get another win as a bonus," said Mizbani.
"Our team was strong and well-prepared for this race. So, I'm happy with our performance. We now lead the UCI Asia Tour teams' standings, but not the individual rankings, so that is our next target."
Tabriz's performance was on another planet, as they showed today in having four riders in the seven-man breakaway - Mizbani, Sohrabi, Hossein Askari and Pourseyedigolakhour.
"We know our level is higher than most of the other Asian teams and we should be racing in Europe or America, but there are some political issues in that. Because of sanctions against Iran, it is impossible for us to get visas to enter most countries outside of Asia, so we are limited to racing in the UCI Asia Tour," said Mizbani.
"I am sure that with our level, we should be able to even win some big races in Europe, and we won't have problems getting invited. The only problem is, because we are Iranian, getting visas would be impossible."
Synergy-Baku Cycling Project's Anuar Manan was the only rider to deny Tabriz a clean sweep of titles when he barely managed to take the points classification victory by a single point over Sohrabi.
"For me this was a race where I was making my comeback, after a long lay-off due to my back injury. So, I had planned to use this to get back into form. Winning the points classification is just a bonus for me, as I still have some way to go before I reach my peak form again," said Anuar.
"I still haven't won a stage and my team have targeted the Tour of China in October for me to do that, so I want to ensure I am back on form by then."
|Mehdi Sohrabi in great form takes the final stage in Penampang|
|Anuar steals the green jersey from an almost clean sweep by Ghader Mizbani (Asian, KOM & Yellow)|
|Tabriz Petrochemical takes the best Asian team and Overall Team classification|