Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 – Stage 6 – CLIMBER SERPA STUNS THE SPRINTERS

BANDAR PENAWAR (14 Feb, 2008) – Jose Serpa proved that he is as good in the climb as he is on flat terrain when he raced to the front of a 15-man breakaway to win Stage Six of Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 from Bandar Penawar to Rompin this evening.

LTDL 2008 Jose Serpa

The romping finish for Serpa, who had dominated the climb up Genting Highlands in 2006 and 2007, was a little unexpected as he had to contend with having well-known sprinter Jeremy Hunt (Credit Agricole) in the front group.

But in the end, Serpa proved that he not only had the strength but also the ability to finish the 182.8km race well ahead of the others with a time of 4h26’43”.

“The manager (Gianni Savio) had a good look at the race route and we worked out a plan to interprete it when the moment comes,” said the 29-year-old Serpa.

LTDL 2008 Jose Serpa

“It all depended on the surprise factor and in the last 500metres when I went round the corner, I was in front and I quickly took advantage when I realized that the others were behind me.”

The undulating terrains through the Felda heartland made for some hard riding and even though Park Sung Baek (Seoul Cycling) took the first sprint, the reaction from the main group were quick as 15 other riders soon joined the early breakaway.

Apart from Park, Serpa and Hunt, the other known escapees were David George (South Africa) and Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) as they built to an 8:21 minute lead at the 85km mark.

As they approached the first climb in the Tour this year in Jemaluang, the gap increased to more than nine minutes as Chris Meschenmoser (Team Ista) took the Red Jersey for the first time.

“There was good possibility to win the jersey and I seized the moment when the others hesitated,” said Meschenmoser.
As the race wore on and with little reaction from the peloton, Jorg Lehmann (Team Ista) dropped off from the breakaway group as the others work in turn to drive forward to the finish line.

The gap was reduced to just 3:48 after the third sprint which was won by Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche) but the excellent fight back from the front group made sure that a safe buffer was maintained as they raced back to a 5:48 minute advantage going into the last five kilometers.

As the riders started to gun for position, they failed to take into account of Serpa jumping ahead to the line in front of them as the Colombian emerged victorious in front of a roaring crowd of well over 30,000 spectators.

“I know that it will not be easy in the next two days but I will try hard to keep it (the Blue jersey) until Stage Eight,” added Park, the new leader for the Asian Blue Jersey category.

Tour leader Matthieu Sprick is still in the Tour leader yellow jersey while team-mate Clerc is still in the green for the sprinters.

STAGE SIX RESULTS
1. Serpa Perez, Jose (Serramenti PVC) 4h26’43”
2. Usov, Alexandre (AG2R La Mondiale) 4h26’43”
3. Walker, Johnnie (SouthAustralia.Com) 4h26’43”
4. Clarke, Simon (SouthAustralia.Com) 4h26’43”
5. Rossi, Enrico (NGC Medical) 4h26’43”
6. Corsini, Marco (NGC Medical) 4h26’43”
7. Martias, Rony (Bouygues Telecom) 4h26’43”
8. Hunt, Jeremy (Credit Agricole) 4h26’43”
9. Meschenmoser, Chris (Team Ista) 4h26’43”
10. Van Niekerk, Dennis (South African) 4h26’43”

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Sprick, Matthieu (Bouygues Telecom) 23h43’16”
2. Docker, Mitchell (Drapac Porsche) 23h43’17”
3. Cesar, Gustavo (Karpin Galicia) 23h43’19”
4. Nosotti, Diego (NGC Medical) 23h43’20”
5. Wilson, Matt (Team Type 1) 23h43’22”
6. Sulzberger, Bernard (Letua Cycling Team) 23h43’22”
7. Park, Sung Baek (Seoul Cycling) 23h43’23”
8. Rodriguez, Jackson (Serramenti PVC) 23h43’23”
9. Yates, Jeremy (New Zealand) 23h43’23”
10. Fukushima, Shinichi (Meitan Hompo) 23h43’24”

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