Pre-race favourites Simon Carr crushed his rivals in the last four kilometres with a strong climb to take the Genting Highlands stage which saw EF Education-EasyPost registering a one-two finish at the summit of the queen stage here, today.
The 25-year-old Briton rode strongly in the hardest section of the punishing climb, shaking off Alexander Jefferson Cepeda at the 4km mark and went off on his own right up to the summit finish with a time of 3hrs 24.06s – 49 seconds ahead of his Ecuadorian teammate.
It was the fifth time, in the Tour’s history, that riders from the same team had succeeded in a one-two finish after MG Technogym (1997), Mapei-Bricobi (1998), Colombia Selle Italia (2004) and Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli in 2007.
Today’s results saw changes in two race jerseys with Carr, as the new overall leader in PETRONAS Green Jersey with a total time of 19:25.10s.
Astana Qazaqstan’s Vadim Pronsky, the Best Asian rider after today’s stage, is now fifth overall in the standings with a deficit of 1:15s.
Parading a team full of climbing specialists, EF Education-EasyPost lived up to their top billings with Carr, Cepeda, Odd Christian Eiking and Jardi Van der Lee taking turns in driving hard at the head of the peloton and crushing their rivals.
Today’s Genting stage was Carr’s biggest stage win this season, reinforcing his status as among EF Education’s best climbers, which he dedicated to his grandfather, who passed away on Monday.
“Coming to Malaysia for the first time for the race, I felt the pressure, which is a bit more for me here. The quality of riders is just great but I’m happy to win for the team as last year, we came close.
“Genting was really a tough climb, with three main sections along the route with the top section, the last 4km the hardest. After Cepeda had gone off to the front, I managed to make contact with him before going solo to the summit,” said Carr, who started the day on third overall with a 10s deficit behind the leader.
The team will remain focused in the next three days, to avoid any troubles on their leader and eventually wrap up their campaign on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur on a high note.
Second-placed Cepeda, meanwhile, was happy with the results, despite failing to keep his pace after going solo at the 6km mark.
“I’m happy to have helped the team with this win, we controlled the breakaway today. It was clear, Simon had better legs today, I’m happy for the team,” said Cepeda.
Tudor Cycling Team are poised for remarkable results in their first outing in Malaysia, with Simon Pellaud keeping the TOURISM MALAYSIA Red Polka Dot jersey as mountains leader.
Currently with 32 points, he is leading the mountains standings by 12 points, ahead of closest rival Carr (20 points). Pellaud also won today’s BUBBLES 02 Most Combative Award for his early breakaway efforts.
Sprinter Arvid de Kleijn (30 points) remained in KBS Orange Sprints Jersey, albeit with a slender lead of just one point over Italian Enrico Zanoncello (Green Project Bardiani, 29 points) and New Zealander George Jackson (Bolton Equities Black Spoke, 27 points).
The BEAUTIFUL TERENGGANU White Jersey changed hands with Astana’s Vadim Pronsky taking over the Best Asian leader tag, with a 2mins 15s advantage over closest rival Jambaljamts Sainbayar (Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team).
Tomorrow will be a day for sprinters as the race resumes with Stage 6 from Karak to the historical town of Melaka, a flat route over 174.5km with three intermediate sprints and two small climbs.