Positions on the leaderboardafter day two of the Jelajah Malaysia Tour are delicately poised with seconds only, separating the top six on general Classification of the seven day tour which is due to finish up in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

In the mix is none other than Kerryman man Paul Griffin eight seconds adrift of the race leader of Li Fuyu from China and representing the Marco Polo outfit. Li gained a lot of experience last season when as a member of the all conquering Discovery Channel Team. It, looks as though after two days of competition in this event that he is showing the qualities of sound leadership as was clearly in evidence yesterday on the stage from Seremban to Malacca.

Not to be outdone, Paul is also drawing on his vast experience of racing on the Asian Continent with the Giant Asia Team. Also he has a bonus with David McCann rejoining the team after a stint in the USA.

As is the custom and practice in most ‘Tours’ it was a fast start yesterday and just just played into the hands of the leaders who were able to summon members of their respective teams to keep the pace up which negated any breakaway attempts in the early stage of the 137kms of action to Malacca.

Eventually the elastic snapped when a five competitors opened up a significant gap on the main bunch. In the quintet was, Ken Onodera (Trek-Marco Polo), Mehdi Sohrabi (Azad), Makoto Iijima (Japan National Team). As the race pace heated up, Maruli Fajar Mulia (Indonesia Customs) and Taufik Mohamad (Benteng Muda Selangor) made the junction to the lead group. Not to be left in limbo after a long and hectic chase, Budi Santoso and Herwin Jaya (Polygon Sweet Nice), Hannes Blank (Differdange-Apiflo), Rauf Nor Misbah (Malaysia National Team) and Putro Bayu Sartrios (Benteng Muda Selangor) made contact, swelling the break to 13. It was a repeat of the the opening stage of the event when similiarly 13 were ahead, but unfortunately they would have no rich pickings from the top table in relation to the overall standings.

Trek-Marco Polo the team of the overall leader Li, felt obligated to claw back the leaders as within the 13 were two who were only one minute seventeen seconds off the lead. Their chase paid off as Iijima survived until the last 3kms before he was reeled back in to the main pack.

With all the counter attacks which kept the speed very much to the fore it came to a sprint finish in the sea port of Malacca with a stiff breeze coming in off the China sea. The rising star from Malaysia Anuar Manam led the way with Sergy Kudenmtsov of Russia and Kochei Uchima the Japanese who is very popular with the Malays second and third respectively.
‘It was a cat and mouse effort all day. Along with my team including David McCann it was a watching brief that the principals were in the pack,’ said Paul as he headed for his base at the Equatorial Hotel.

Stage Two/Seremban – Melaka, 136.2 Kms.
Details:
1 Anuar Manam (Malaysia) Le Tua Cycling Team, 3hrs.07mins.55secs;
2 Sergey Kudentsov (Russia) Trek Marco Polo Team, same time;
3 Kohei Uchima (Japan) Japan National Team, st;
56 Paul Griffin (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
85 David McCann (Ireland) Giant Asia Team, st.

General classification after stage 2

1 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team,7.20.04
2 Marcel Strauss (Switzerland) Team Stegcomputer – CKT – Cogeas, @4secs;
3 Jacob Nielsen (Denmark) Team Farso,@6;
4 Griffin, @8;
23 McCann, @3.26.

Points classification

8 Griffin.

Mountains classification

1 Hossein Askari (Iran) Tabriz Petrochemical Team,8 pts;
2 Paul Griffin, 5;
3 Tonton Susanto (Hong Kong) Le Tua Cycling Team, 3.

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