KUALA LUMPUR: Climber Simon Carr of EF Education-EasyPost scored an emotional victory in the queen stage of Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) today.
Carr crossed the line first in three hours, 24 minutes and six seconds in the fifth stage which started in Slim River and ended with an hors categorie summit finish in Genting Highlands.
EF teammate Jefferson Alexander Cepeda finished second, 39s adrift while Equipo Kern Pharma’s Pablo Castrillo (+48s) completed the podium.
The day started with Tudor Pro Cycling Team’s Simon Pellaud strengthening his lead atop the mountains classification (polka dot jersey) after taking maximum points at the first two climbs in Rawang (category four) and Bentong (category one).
Pellaud was, however, caught by a group of over 20 riders which included EF’s Carr, Jefferson Alexander Cepeda, Odd Christian Eiking and Jardi Christiaan van der Lee with roughly 13km to go.
EF put the hammer down in the final 10km with Cepeda and Carr launching their attack in the final five km. The latter went solo for the last three km.
Carr, who has three stage wins to his name this season, said it was a meaningful victory.
“It was a hard climb but we did an amazing job. The whole team took it on, and I’m just really happy to finish it off,” said Carr.
“We set a hard pace from the start of the climb. When Alex (Cepeda) went, it was the right time. I could immediately tell that everybody else had nothing left.
“For me, this win means a lot and not just because of the race.
“I was actually very motivated to win (yesterday). My grandfather had just passed away last Monday. He was a big fan and I really wanted to win this for him.”
The Welshman now leads the general classification (green jersey) with a relatively comfortable 49s advantage over second-placed Cepeda. Castrillo is third overall (+58s).
Carr is also second in the mountains classification, 12 points behind Pellaud (32).
The white jersey (Asian riders classification) shifted – for the third time in as many days – to Astana Qazaqstan’s Vadim Pronskiy who holds a healthy 2:15s advantage over second-placed Jambaljamts Sainbayar.
Pronskiy (Ukraine) crossed the line in fifth place (+59s) in Genting Highlands while Jambaljamts, who is the white jersey defending champion, was 17th (+3:14s).
Jambaljamts admitted it will be tough to overtake Pronskiy in the standings but has not given up hope.
“It was a tough day, the guys moved ahead but I just followed my own pace, I did the best I could,” said Jambaljamts.
Stage One winner Arvid de Kleijn (Tudor Pro) remained in charge of the orange jersey with 30 points to his name, one more than second placed Enrico Zanoncello (29 pts).
The sixth stage tomorrow will begin in Karak and finish in Bandar Hilir, Melaka (174.5km). There will be climbs in Gapoi (category four) and Luak Inas (category three) as well as intermediate sprints at Pelangai, Batu Kikir and Luak Inas.