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Serpa takes Langkawi stage, George holds lead

Traditionally, the infamous ascent to Genting Highlands in Malaysia — the “Alpe d’Huez of Asia” — is the decision-maker at the Tour de Langkawi, now in its 11th year. For the first time this year, the giant climb is coming in the middle of the 10-day race, rather than toward the end.

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By John Wilcockson

Traditionally, the infamous ascent to Genting Highlands in Malaysia — the “Alpe d’Huez of Asia” — is the decision-maker at the Tour de Langkawi, now in its 11th year. For the first time this year, the giant climb is coming in the middle of the 10-day race, rather than toward the end. That’s why Monday’s stage 4 didn’t end in the expected field sprint: The principal players and teams weren’t keen to chase down every break on the hot, rolling 144.5km stage from Tapah to Kuala Selangor, where Colombian rookie José Serpa of Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni took his first win as a professional.

There were no changes to the overall positions established after Sunday’s epic stage 3 from the Malaysian coast up to Cameron Highlands — the “junior” version of Genting. That stage gave American Saul Raisin of Crédit Agricole his first taste of victory in his nascent professional career, while the rider he outsprinted for the win, David George of South Africa, took over the yellow jersey.

Raisin — who wrote in his personal blog, “So I won a race! How cool is that?” — is lying only 15th on GC, 7:22 back, because he missed the break on the short, flat opening stage that gave two dozen riders, including George, a 7:26 head start. Also in that break were the half-dozen others still hoping to win this Tour de Langkawi, including the current runners-up, Italian veteran Gabriele Missaglia of Selle Italia and U.S.-based Colombian Cesar Grajales of Navigators Insurance.

So, with the Genting climb awaiting on Tuesday’s stage 5 agenda, all these riders’ teams were perfectly happy when Serpa and seven other riders, all from different teams, formed a break just 5km into Monday’s stage. Serpa, who started the day in 18th overall, 9:48 behind George, was the best placed of the eight breakaways and the only danger to the overall leaders. So when the break’s lead topped six minutes 100km into the stage, George’s South African national team and Grajales’s Navigators went to the front and halved the gap before the finish.

Serpa’s Italian team manager Gianni Savio — who signed the 27-year-old Colombian to a three-year contract two weeks ago after seeing Serpa finish second overall at Venezuela’s Vuelta al Tachira — told his rookie when he missed Saturday’s big break that he should “go to sleep at night and not during the race.” Serpa was wide awake Monday morning and he smartly counterattacked the break with 8km to go and won the stage solo, 15 seconds ahead of Britain’s Evan Oliphant (Recycling.co.uk), with Frenchman Christophe Ribon (AG2R) in third.

Sepa’s stage win moved him above Raisin on GC, and gives Selle Italia three riders in the top 13 overall, with Missaglia in second (40 seconds behind George) and the dangerous Colombian climber Walter Pedraza in fifth — Pedraza has the same overall deficit (2:22) as Grajales, Crédit Agricole’s Italian Francesco Bellotti and Bouygues Télécom’s Frenchman Laurent Lefèvre.

All these riders will be hoping to challenge George for the yellow jersey on Tuesday when the 99.7km stage 5 finishes with 4500 feet of uphill work in the last 30km, including the final, steep 10km to the Cameron Highlands mountain resort at 5574 feet above sea level. Expect most of the riders who placed well on Sunday’s climb to Cameron Highlands to battle for the stage win.

South Africa’s defending champion Ryan Cox (who is back in 12th overall at 5:57) and KoM leader Darren Lill will be helping George defend his overall lead; Selle Italia will probably try to spring Pedraza and have Serpa help the 35-year-old Missaglia; Navigators will be planning to get Grajales with Pedraza; while Crédit Agricole will most likely put Raisin and French teammate Benoît Poilvet to work for Bellotti — unless Raisin again has the legs that took him to victory on Sunday.

Describing that finish up to Cameron Highlands in his blog, Raisin said, “We faced one hard climb before the finish. I just attacked from the bottom, got off [the front] with two guys [George and teammate Lill], attacked again and dropped the other [Lill]. Coming to the finish I made [George] work; he was going for the overall and had to ride. We turned the corner for the last 300 meters. I just put in gear and rode as hard as I could. So I won! Fun, fun. I think I would like to win more often.”

Perhaps that chance will come again on Tuesday.

Results Stage 4

1. Serpa, José (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 3h17:46
2. Oliphant, Evan (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 15
3. Riblon, Christophe (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 17
4. Clement, Stef (NED), Bouygues Telecom, at 18
5. Tondo Volpini, Xavier (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 31
6. Mori, Kazuhiro (JPN), Japan, at 01:06
7. Verstrepen, Johan (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.
8. Allegrini, Mirko (ITA), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 01:08
9. Radochla, Steffen (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, at 03:00
10. Hinault, Sébastien (FRA), Credit Agricole, s.t.FullResultsOverall
1. George, David (RSA), South Africa
2. Missaglia, Gabriele (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 40
3. Grajales, Cesar (COL), Navigators Insurance, at 02:22
4. Bellotti, Francesco (ITA), Credit Agricole s.t.
5. Pedraza, Walter (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni s.t.
6. Lefevre, Laurent (FRA), Bouygues Telecom s.t.
7. Poilvet, Benoit (FRA), Credit Agricole, at 02:27
8. Sharman, Robin (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 02:28
9. Walters, Mark (CAN), Navigators Insurance, at 03:27
10. Elias Galindo, Jose (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 04:59FullResults

Results

Results Stage 4

1. Serpa, José (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 3h17:46

2. Oliphant, Evan (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 15

3. Riblon, Christophe (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 17

4. Clement, Stef (NED), Bouygues Telecom, at 18

5. Tondo Volpini, Xavier (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 31

6. Mori, Kazuhiro (JPN), Japan, at 01:06

7. Verstrepen, Johan (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

8. Allegrini, Mirko (ITA), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 01:08

9. Radochla, Steffen (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, at 03:00

10. Hinault, Sébastien (FRA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

11. Marzoli, Samuele (ITA), LPR, s.t.

12. Ravard, Anthony (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

13. Vanderaerden, Micheal (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, s.t.

14. Cavendish, Mark (GBR), Great Britain, s.t.

15. Grajales, Cesar (COL), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

16. Retschke, Robert (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, s.t.

17. Renders, Sven (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

18. Flickinger, Andy (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

19. Habeaux, Gregory (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

20. Lemoine, Cyril (FRA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

21. Miyazawa, Takashi (JPN), Japan, s.t.

22. Fauzan, Ahmad Lutfi (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

23. Walters, Mark (CAN), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

24. Missaglia, Gabriele (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, s.t.

25. Sayuti, Zahit (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

26. Lebeau, Jean Claude (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

27. Jasmin, Ruslan (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

28. Dion, Renaud (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.

29. Samai, Samai (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

30. House, Kristian (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, s.t.

31. Lefevre, Laurent (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

32. Sharman, Robin (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, s.t.

33. George, David (RSA), South Africa, s.t.

34. Primero, Albert (PHI), Casino Filipino, s.t.

35. Setyo Budi, Wawan (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

36. Matveyev, Sergiy (UKR), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.

37. Loh, Sea Keong ( MAS), Équipe Asia, s.t.

38. Raisin, Saul (USA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

39. Cox, Ryan (RSA), South Africa, s.t.

40. Swindlehurst, Burke (USA), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

41. Loubet, Julien (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.

42. Ramos jr, Merculio (PHI), Casino Filipino, s.t.

43. Peng, Kuei Hsiang (TPE), Giant-Asia, s.t.

44. Poilvet, Benoit (FRA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

45. Garcia, Raul (ESP), Relax-Gam, s.t.

46. Bellotti, Francesco (ITA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

47. Carrera, Sherwin (PHI), Casino Filipino, s.t.

48. Iannetti, Massimo (ITA), LPR, s.t.

49. Sulisttiyono, Sulisttiyono (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

50. Askari, Hossein (IRI), Giant-Asia, s.t.

51. Greenwood, Ben (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, s.t.

52. Md Saiful Anuar, Aziz ( MAS), Équipe Asia, s.t.

53. Dietziker, Andreas (SUI), LPR, s.t.

54. Espiritu, Victor (PHI), Casino Filipino, s.t.

55. Elias Galindo, Jose (ESP), Relax-Gam, s.t.

56. Lill, Darren (RSA), South Africa, s.t.

57. Griffin, Paul (IRL), Giant-Asia, s.t.

58. Gene, Yohann (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

59. Pedraza, Walter (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, s.t.

60. Richeze, Maximiliano (ARG), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.

61. Partridge, Robert (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, s.t.

62. McCann, David (IRL), Giant-Asia, s.t.

63. Beuchat, Roger (SUI), LPR, s.t.

64. Shahrulneeza, Razali (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

65. Luzon, Bernardo (PHI), Casino Filipino, s.t.

66. Tonton, Susanto (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

67. Schmidt, Torsten (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, s.t.

68. Fullard, Jacques (RSA), South Africa, s.t.

69. Suhardi, Hassan (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

70. Matnur, Matnur (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

71. Verheyen, David (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

72. Ng, Yong Li ( MAS), Équipe Asia, s.t.

73. Ahmad Falani, Ali (MAS), Malaysia, s.t.

74. Vallejo, Angel (ESP), Relax-Gam, s.t.

75. Green, Rodney (RSA), South Africa, s.t.

76. Fukushima, Shinichi (JPN), Japan, s.t.

77. Fukushima, Koji (JPN), Japan, s.t.

78. Van Ulden, Bernard (USA), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

79. Adi, Wilbowo (INA), Wismilak, s.t.

80. Meirhaeghe, Filip (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, s.t.

81. Mizbani, Ghader (IRI), Giant-Asia, s.t.

82. Le Mevel, Christophe (FRA), Credit Agricole, s.t.

83. Dyadichkin, Vyacheslav ( KAZ), Équipe Asia, s.t.

84. Mangel, Laurent (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.

85. Van Kuik, Frank (NED), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, s.t.

86. Beppu, Takum (JPN), Japan, s.t.

87. Nishitani, Taiji (JPN), Japan, s.t.

88. Le Boulanger, Yohann (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

89. Riemslagh, Gianni (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, s.t.

90. Newton, Chris (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, s.t.

91. Clancy, Edward (GBR), Great Britain, s.t.

92. Fitrianto, Hari ( INA), Équipe Asia, s.t.

93. Wackernagel, Lars (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, s.t.

94. Grishkine, Oleg (RUS), Navigators Insurance, s.t.

95. Pütsep, Erki (EST), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 03:27

96. Penne, Frederik (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, s.t.

97. Thomas, Geraint (GBR), Great Britain, s.t.

98. Naibo, Carl (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.

99. Belli, Wladimir (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, s.t.

100. Aggiano, Elio (ITA), LPR, s.t.

101. Bates, Gene (AUS), LPR, s.t.

102. Bongiorno, Ruben (ARG), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.

103. Milne, Shawn (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 03:31

104. Perez, Julio Alberto (MEX), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 03:32

105. Brammeier, Matt (GBR), Great Britain, at 03:34

106. Maartens, Jeremy (RSA), South Africa, at 03:45

107. Lai, Kuan Hua (TPE), Giant-Asia, at 03:50

108. Loddo, Alberto (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 03:52

109. Furlan, Angelo (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, s.t.

110. Downing, Russell (GBR), Great Britain, at 03:00

111. Sweet, Corey (AUS), Wiesenhof Akud, at 04:43

112. Konechy, Tomas (CZE), Wiesenhof Akud, at 06:49

Overall

1. George, David (RSA), South Africa

2. Missaglia, Gabriele (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 40

3. Grajales, Cesar (COL), Navigators Insurance, at 02:22

4. Bellotti, Francesco (ITA), Credit Agricole s.t.

5. Pedraza, Walter (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni s.t.

6. Lefevre, Laurent (FRA), Bouygues Telecom s.t.

7. Poilvet, Benoit (FRA), Credit Agricole, at 02:27

8. Sharman, Robin (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 02:28

9. Walters, Mark (CAN), Navigators Insurance, at 03:27

10. Elias Galindo, Jose (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 04:59

11. Matveyev, Sergiy (UKR), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 05:42

12. Cox, Ryan (RSA), South Africa, at 05:57

13. Serpa, José (COL), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 06:35

14. Miyazawa, Takashi (JPN), Japan, at 07:07

15. Raisin, Saul (USA), Credit Agricole, at 07:22

16. Lill, Darren (RSA), South Africa, at 07:44

17. Garcia, Raul (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 07:53

18. McCann, David (IRL), Giant-Asia, at 08:04

19. Askari, Hossein (IRI), Giant-Asia, at 09:52

20. Iannetti, Massimo (ITA), LPR, at 10:52

21. Fukushima, Shinichi (JPN), Japan, at 10:56

22. Clancy, Edward (GBR), Great Britain, at 11:07

23. Habeaux, Gregory (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 12:04

24. Loubet, Julien (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance s.t.

25. Renders, Sven (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 13:11

26. House, Kristian (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 13:16

27. Le Boulanger, Yohann (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, at 13:41

28. Greenwood, Ben (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 17:26

29. Dyadichkin, Vyacheslav ( KAZ), Équipe Asia s.t.

30. Tonton, Susanto (INA), Wismilak, at 17:53

31. Suhardi, Hassan (MAS), Malaysia, at 18:13

32. Griffin, Paul (IRL), Giant-Asia, at 19:32

33. Mizbani, Ghader (IRI), Giant-Asia s.t.

34. Bates, Gene (AUS), LPR, at 19:43

35. Wackernagel, Lars (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, at 19:55

36. Richeze, Maximiliano (ARG), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 20:23

37. Lebeau, Jean Claude (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 20:39

38. Schmidt, Torsten (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, at 20:56

39. Aggiano, Elio (ITA), LPR, at 21:06

40. Riblon, Christophe (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 21:38

41. Shahrulneeza, Razali (MAS), Malaysia, at 21:56

42. Ahmad Falani, Ali (MAS), Malaysia, at 22:44

43. Loh, Sea Keong ( MAS), Équipe Asia, at 22:46

44. Le Mevel, Christophe (FRA), Credit Agricole, at 23:49

45. Radochla, Steffen (GER), Wiesenhof Akud, at 24:12

46. Setyo Budi, Wawan (INA), Wismilak, at 24:17

47. Pütsep, Erki (EST), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 24:34

48. Ng, Yong Li ( MAS), Équipe Asia, at 26:11

49. Vallejo, Angel (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 27:38

50. Sulisttiyono, Sulisttiyono (INA), Wismilak, at 27:58

51. Ramos jr, Merculio (PHI), Casino Filipino, at 28:00

52. Green, Rodney (RSA), South Africa, at 28:03

53. Hinault, Sébastien (FRA), Credit Agricole, at 28:04

54. Dion, Renaud (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 28:05

55. Fauzan, Ahmad Lutfi (MAS), Malaysia s.t.

56. Lemoine, Cyril (FRA), Credit Agricole s.t.

57. Flickinger, Andy (FRA), Bouygues Telecom s.t.

58. Retschke, Robert (GER), Wiesenhof Akud s.t.

59. Partridge, Robert (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk s.t.

60. Gene, Yohann (FRA), Bouygues Telecom s.t.

61. Espiritu, Victor (PHI), Casino Filipino s.t.

62. Dietziker, Andreas (SUI), LPR s.t.

63. Beppu, Takum (JPN), Japan s.t.

64. Fitrianto, Hari ( INA), Équipe Asia, at 28:12

65. Oliphant, Evan (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk, at 28:47

66. Beuchat, Roger (SUI), LPR, at 28:48

67. Tondo Volpini, Xavier (ESP), Relax-Gam, at 29:14

68. Clement, Stef (NED), Bouygues Telecom s.t.

69. Lai, Kuan Hua (TPE), Giant-Asia, at 29:48

70. Allegrini, Mirko (ITA), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 29:52

71. Verstrepen, Johan (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 29:57

72. Mori, Kazuhiro (JPN), Japan, at 30:41

73. Carrera, Sherwin (PHI), Casino Filipino, at 31:15

74. Sayuti, Zahit (MAS), Malaysia, at 31:33

75. Riemslagh, Gianni (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, at 31:35

76. Md Saiful Anuar, Aziz ( MAS), Équipe Asia, at 31:37

77. Ravard, Anthony (FRA), Bouygues Telecom, at 31:38

78. Primero, Albert (PHI), Casino Filipino s.t.

79. Downing, Russell (GBR), Great Britain, at 31:41

80. Fullard, Jacques (RSA), South Africa s.t.

81. Vanderaerden, Micheal (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, at 31:43

82. Newton, Chris (GBR), Recyling.Co.Uk s.t.

83. Luzon, Bernardo (PHI), Casino Filipino, at 31:45

84. Verheyen, David (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 31:51

85. Meirhaeghe, Filip (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago s.t.

86. Swindlehurst, Burke (USA), Navigators Insurance s.t.

87. Thomas, Geraint (GBR), Great Britain, at 32:08

88. Penne, Frederik (BEL), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, at 32:12

89. Belli, Wladimir (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni s.t.

90. Naibo, Carl (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 32:18

91. Loddo, Alberto (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 32:27

92. Maartens, Jeremy (RSA), South Africa, at 32:28

93. Peng, Kuei Hsiang (TPE), Giant-Asia, at 33:15

94. Sweet, Corey (AUS), Wiesenhof Akud, at 33:40

95. Fukushima, Koji (JPN), Japan, at 34:01

96. Van Kuik, Frank (NED), Yawadoo Colba-Abm, at 34:10

97. Jasmin, Ruslan (MAS), Malaysia, at 35:01

98. Samai, Samai (INA), Wismilak s.t.

99. Mangel, Laurent (FRA), Ag2r Prevoyance, at 35:04

100. Matnur, Matnur (INA), Wismilak, at 35:16

101. Nishitani, Taiji (JPN), Japan, at 35:23

102. Milne, Shawn (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 35:35

103. Perez, Julio Alberto (MEX), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 35:45

104. Furlan, Angelo (ITA), Selle Italia Diquigiovanni, at 35:53

105. Marzoli, Samuele (ITA), LPR, at 36:58

106. Bongiorno, Ruben (ARG), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 37:25

107. Cavendish, Mark (GBR), Great Britain, at 39:14

108. Grishkine, Oleg (RUS), Navigators Insurance, at 39:15

109. Brammeier, Matt (GBR), Great Britain, at 39:48

110. Van Ulden, Bernard (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 40:00

111. Konechy, Tomas (CZE), Wiesenhof Akud, at 40:30

112. Adi, Wilbowo (INA), Wismilak, at 43:20