Posts Tagged ‘Paul Griffin’

For years since its inception back in 1996 Le Tour de Langkawi has been a big draw for cyclists the world over. The roll call of winners’ emhasises this with the inaugural winner from Australia and last year a Frenchman was victorious. Alan Charteau led from the front after day three and epitomised the true qualities of a great bike rider.

LTdL 2007 Genting stg 8 Race winner Charteau in yellow, Stage winner Jose SERPA
LTdL 2007 Genting stg 8 Race winner Charteau in yellow, Stage winner Jose SERPA
Picture by John Pierce

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So! Obviously the organisers of the stage races held at Easter time are beavering away at getting entries for their promotions.

Well! It can be widely assumed from the interest that the ‘Bertoni Gorey Three Day’ has been receiving in the last number of days, that they will not lack entries. It is a sure bet that they’ll be oversubscribed before the season starts at the end of the month! Last year’s winner Denis Dunworth from the Killorglin Cycling Club will not be defending as he has gone on to greater heights and is presently training in France where he will based for the coming season. Continue Reading »

Cyclists fear it but the spectators simply adore it as they observe from a distance the magic of the cyclist throwing down the gauntlet to the one of the toughest climbs in a bike race world wide. Whenever Le Tour de Langkawi is spoken of in hushed voices, because of the respect that competitors have since the start of the love affair! Genting Highlands is spoken of in reverence and rightly so! , Yes! The climb up to Genting Highlands has been part and parcel of this unique event which now enters its 13th season on the road. If the cyclists respect it the motorised public equally respect it.

Naturally, when the news came through yesterday, that it would missing this time around, the would be competitors must have breathed a sigh of relief. Continue Reading »

As anticipated, the fireworks did not materialise after Thursdays bloodletting when the leaderboard changed dramatically with Tonton Susanto assuming the race lead of the Jelajah Malaysia Tour. Yesterday it was a bunch sprint into Karak with Paul Griffin and David McCann showing no fatigue after the 133.7 of racing.

The big story here is the emergence of Malaysian Anuar Manan who has succeeded for the third occasion getting his wheel over the line first.

Today, the climb up Genting Highlands will certainly soften the cough of many who have aspirations of doing well. The climb will ultimately decide the outcome of the 7-day race and it is expected that Paul Griffin can at least move up the general classification listing. board.

Jelajah Malaysia Tour
Gemas – Karak, 133.7 Km
1 Anuar Manam (Malaysia) Le Tua Cycling Team,3hrs.0mins.54secs;
2 Hossein Nateghi (Iran) Tabriz Petrochemical Team, same time;
3 Cyrille Heymanns (Luxembourg) Team Differdange-Apiflo Vacances, st;
41 Paul Griffin (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
72 David Mc Cann (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st.

General classification after stage 5

1 Tonton Susanto (Ina) Le Tua Cycling Team,18.22.20;
2 Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Iran) Tabriz Petrochemical Team, @4
3 Fredrik Johansson (Swe) Team Differdange-Apiflo Vacances, @2mins;
12 Griffin, @5.27
31 McCann, @8.47

Mountains classification

1 Hossein Askari (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Team, 8 pts;
2 Griffin,5;
3 Susanto, 8.

A moment of indecision by the main players in the Jelajah Malaysia Tour succumbed yesterday including Tralee’s Paul Griffin all misjudged the strength and depth of a break who formed early on in the fourth  stage from Batu Pahat/Muar, 178.8 Km.

The Kerryman not alone was the big loser, but race favourite Li Fuyu of Trek-Marco Polo was a disconsolate man at the finish.

All the good work performed over the opening three days literally went up in smoke as early as the 20kms marker of the 178.8kms of racing.

Victory on the stage went to the Swede Fredrik Johansson (Team Differdange-Apiflo Vacances) and the overall tunic of race leader is now with Tonton Susanto (LeTua) from Indonesia.

The irony of it all is that Susanto represented Marco Polo for many years, but yesterday his Malaysian team LeTua were in celebratory form.

Paul and David McCann along with the main group trailed the leaders by six minutes plus.

To put the cat amongst the pigeons, Griffin should have marked his former team mate Ghader Mizbani Iranagh who has now been installed as race favourite courtesy of the advantage gained yesterday.

Cat and mouse tactics on the face of it look to be on the menu as the standings after day three of the Jelajah Malaysia Tour remain static as far as the leaders in the overall classifications are concerned! And, this suits Paul Griffin the Kerryman who spends 90% of his time racing on the Asian Continent.

Paul retains his fourth placing on general classification eight seconds adrift of race leader Li Fuyu the 30-year-old Chinese who is growing in confidence that he’ll come up trumps on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur.
‘Tactically, it looks as though the big hitters are keeping their powder dry for Saturdays’ stage up to Genting Highlands, 6000 above sea level. I have ridden up the steep gradient on a number of occasions and as far as I am concerned, I’ll give it wellie,’ said Paul.

Whilst Li Fuyu may getting all the plaudits as race leader, Anuar Manan is certainly the locals a lot to shout about. He is revelling in the conditions and the fact that he has repeated last year’s feat of two wins in the corresponding event is blstering his future aspirations as a participant in the 13th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi which starts next month.

Seemingly, the race leader is bolstering Manan confidence with gloing within and outside the peloton. He speaks particularly well of his team Le Tua who can’t be left out of the equation whe it comes to doing all the necessities of a team leader when in Manan’s case that of sprinting.

Evidently, Manan’s first aim in the first sprint of the day is to get his name on the bulletin and through the efforts of his team this is competed in a fashionable way. Naturally afte the sprint the peloton settles down to a routine, providing the leading contenders don’t rock the boat by galloping up the highway, thus leaving the peloton grovelling for shelter and splintering the stage passage.

Thankfully yesterday when the necessities of points in the bag, a fairly sizeable break seized the initiative to plough ahead. All told there was 16 riders ahead according to race radio: Thys Poelstra and René Ahrenkiel (Farso), Shahrul Mat Ami and Rauf Nor Misbah (Malaysia National Team), Hayoto Yoshida and Kohei Uchima (Japan National Team), Edi Purnomo (Indonesia Customs) and Suhardi Hassan (Kuala Lumpur), Tomoya Kano and Yoshinori Iino (Skil-Shimano), Herwin Jaya (Polygon Sweet Nice), Naoki Mukaigawa and Masaki Wakumoto (Matrix-Powertag), Hossein Askari and Hossein Nateghi (Tabriz), Akmal Amrun (Malaysia Continental Team).

Unfortunately for the lead group, Askari scuppered their aspirations as he was deemed to be a threat to the bone and withing kilometers their fate was sealed when they were tracked down.

Hardly had the dust settled with the peloton intact again! With seven originally making a forward move which included; Doi (Skil-Shimano), Takamitsu Tsuji and Mitsushiro Matsumura (Matrix-Powertag), Hossein Jahabanian (Tabriz), Faris Abd Razak (Malaysia national team), Maloto Iijima (Japan National Team) and Maruli Fajar Mulia (Indonesia Customs).
A brave effort by Salehian Farshad (Azad) and Patria Rastra (Benteng Muda Selangor) proved worthwhile when they tagged on to the leaders who now had built a commanding lead of three minutes plus after 124kms of racing.

But, it was noticeable that Trek Marco-Polo the race leaders outfit plus the Le Tua team on behalf of their sprinter ignited the pace, ending the charge of all and sundry before the finish in Batu Pahat.

As on Tuesday the points jersey of Manan burst through to take the win, preserving his lead in the points competition and the bonus for Fuyu was he still is on the throne as the event rolls on.

Stage 3/ Bandar Hilir – Batu Pahat, 163.8 Km

1 Anuar Manam (Malaysia) Le Tua Cycling Team,3hrs.55mins.35secs;
2 Hossein Nateghi (Iran) Tabriz Petrochemical Team, same time;
3 Sergey Kudentsov (Russia) Trek Marco Polo Team, st;
15 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team, st;
35 David Mc Cann (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
48 Paul Griffin (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team, st.

General classification after stage 3

1 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team,11.15.39;
2 Marcel Strauss (Switzerland) Team Stegcomputer – CKT – Cogeas, @4secs;
3 Jacob Nielsen (Denmark) Team Farso, @6;
4 Griffin, @8
26 McCann,@3.26.

Points classification

10 Griffin.

Mountains classification

1 Hossein Askari (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Team, 8 pts;
2 Paul Griffin (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team,5;
3 Tonton Susanto (Ina) Le Tua Cycling Team,3.

Paul Griffin returned to Malaysia last weekend after a brief break for Christmas in his home town of Tralee, Co. Kerry.

He was one of two Irishmen that are in the line up for the seven day event Jelajah Malaysia. David McCann from Belfast is his team mate on the Giant Asia Team and both have competed in the last number of of years in Le Tour de Langkawi which starts next month in Alo Setar.

Incidentally, similiar to last season, Paul started racing in January and finished up the week before Christmas (2007) in the Tour of Thailand.

Now he is back on the campaign trail where it began twelve months ago.

And, again he is showing that indeed with proper management of training and rest that he can compete at the higest level.

Yesterday was one of those days when the ‘Kingdom’ competitor was in the action after one third of the race stage of 176kms had been negoiated. Naturally with the exception of Team Matrix-Powertag from Japan all the possible conters were up front and dictating the pace. The group powered along at a rate of knots which brought their advantage up to over four minutes before the alarm bells rang in the peloton. Then a conserted effort by the Japanese team started making inroads into the lead group.

Advantage gained by a break is not easily surrendered and the lead of the 13 man group started to shed competitors in the last 30ks of racing. From, behind, the counter attacks were coming fast and furious but the leaders stuck to their task and Griffin was doing his level best to cojoled the leaders in sticking to the task that lay ahead. ‘I had visions of breaking the mould which would give us a cushion for the next six days, providing we kept the manoeuvre and the tempo at a hig rate of knots,’ said Paul.

The defining moment in the lead group came in the last 15kms of racing when a six of the original thirteen went ahead to contest the finish in Port Dickson alongside the Malacca Straits. (Not that they were in any mood to view the panoramic view of the blus sea.

In the end the advantage of having raced and competed with the Discovery Channel team last season bore all the hallmarks for Li Fuyu from china and representing the Marco polo Team based out of Hong Kong to show a clean pair of wheels to the quintet who lacked the acceleration that Fuyu showed in rgistering a stage win.

”It was a great day’s racing for me. Just back from home after the Christmas, it was important that I got back into the routine. Malaysia has always been good to me . last season I would reckon was one of the best for both Giant Asia and myself. Wiining the team prize in Le Tour de Langkawi was a bonus. As I said to you last year in Fraser Hill after Charteau from the the Credit Agricole stamped his authority, the season is only beginning,’ said Paul.

Stage 1- Jelajah Malaysia – Putrajaya – Port Dickson, 176.5 Km

1 Fuyu Li (China) Trek Marco Polo Team,4hrs.12mins.19secs;
2 Marcel Strauss (Switzerland) Team Stegcomputer – CKT – Cogeas, same time;
3 Jacob Nielsen (Denmark) Team Farso, st;
4 Paul Griffin (Ireland) Giant Asia Racing Team, st;
5 David McCann (Ireland) Giant Asia Team, @3.17.

Morning is the GARVEYS SUPER VALU Stage , which will see the race depart Killorglin at 10am for the 100 mile loop to finish outside the sponsors premises in CASTLEISLAND around 2.30pm. This will be an epic stage taking the riders through the roads of Kerry, Limerick & Cork.

WATERVILLE is the venue for Stage 3, the new PAULINE SUGRUE PROPERTY SALES Stage on Sunday at 12 noon. The stage commerates former Iveragh Cyclist Eamon Scully, who lived for many years in London and the stage sponsor is his sister. The cup in his honour was won by Paidi O Brien last year and he will return in the Murphy & Gunn colours this year . The stage starts and finishes in the South Kerry town after a punishing route that will again take the race onto Valentia Island.

The traditional finish to the race on Easter Monday Morning in KILLORGLIN, at 10am, is 3 laps of the Beaufort circuit and on to the smaller Donal McKenna circuit for the finale, a total of 58 miles.

All the top Irish teams will go to the line, and they will have 2 foreign squads for company. Leading the foreign challenge will be the new Murphy & Gunn Professional team, based in Belgium , that will include winners for the last 2 years John Dempsey and Paul Healion. This team come to the race with 2 Stage races abroad in their legs.

The Surrey League team are regular visitors for the race and they will add to the foreign flavour of the race again.

The team has 3 former winners , Eugene Moriarty, Stephen O Sullivan and Brian Kenneally who is setting the pace at the moment.

Fermoy rider Michael Hennessy winner of Ras Luimini will lead the Cork challenge that will have the Kanturk Lynch Brothers also. Limericks Tom Shanahan is going well at the moment as is Vincent Gleeson from the Banner, who won the points jersey here a few years ago.

The Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers are one of the form teams’ of the moment and bring all their big guns including Rory Wyley and Martin O Loughlin and double winner this year John O Brien.
The Earl of Desmond team will lead the Kerry challenge or in my neck of the woods the ‘Kingdom’ with Niall Brosnan, the Concannon brothers Eoin and Miceal will be in colours and Sean Lacey will be in the firing line also.

It is a hard ask, but of all the competitors in the event, Paul Griffin from Tralee has the most aeronautical miles clocked up and it would be fair to say the most racing miles. He is back for Taiwan and subject to recovery from jet lag has to be taken as a lively candidate for the overall honours.

‘I only made up my mind to compete in the event yesterday evening. The second stage is 80% familiar to me, but the roads will be very hard as I feel they are very dead,’ said Paul Twelve months ago, Eugene Moriarty crashed in this event and more or less never recovered in the sense that he was seldom competitive for the rest of the season, when he got going again. I caught up with him early this afternoon and teased out his feelings about the race. ‘As you are aware and the rest of the cycling community that the squad have been in the winners enclosure seven times since March. That is an enviable amount of success for any team so early in the season. Yes! We’ll be up there to be shot down, but there is tremendous amount of spirit in the team and hopefully we can do the business. Do I need to be reminded that last year in this event. my whole year was more or less finished before it started.

‘We are going over a lot of new ground which will make the event interesting and I am keeping my council to myself as to where the trophy will rest come Monday afternoon,’ said Eugene.

As an honest broker it would be hard despite the pros and the visitors to look beyond Kenneally with John O’Brien of Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers RC and Griffin being in the shake up!