Marcus Culey extended his dominance on the Tour de Selangor 2019 with another emphatic solo victory in Stage 3 from Cyberjaya to Bukit Jugra today.
The 26-year old Australian of Team Sapura Cycling launched another late attack, this time in the final kilometre to the hilltop finish after 90.1km of racing, to cross the finish line 10 seconds ahead of Robin Jurado of the Terengganu Inc-TSG Cycling Team, as defending champion Muhammad Zawawi Azman returned to the podium after being edged to second by the Panamanian.
The stage, run under pleasant weather conditions with slight gusts of wind blowing under moderate sunshine, saw a three-man breakaway comprising PDRM’s Nik Mohd Azwan Zulkiflie, Selangor’s Zulhelmi Zainal and AmSkins Racing Club’s Hafidz Hamid heading off on their own after just 10km.
The trio shared the spoils from first categorised climb, (Cat 4) at Salak Tinggi and two intermediate sprints at Dengkil and Banting, between them, before Hafidz and Zulhelmi dropped back inside the final 15km as Nik Mohd Azwan pushed on with the peloton led by Team Sapura hardly threatened as they never allowed a gap to build beyond 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Nik Mohd Azwan held on until the steep climbing section to the finish in the final kilometre when the peloton caught up and a free-for-all uphill sprint to the finish saw Culey launch himself to a comfortable lead and cross the finish line with Jurado scrambling in vain to match him.
Culey further extended his lead in the general classification to 7 minutes and 7 seconds over Frenchman Loic Desriac of Vietnam’s Bikelife Dong Nai, with Aisan Racing Team’s Shotaro Watanabe a further minute and 49 seconds adrift, as the race for the overall victory seems all but settled, barring the unexpected.
“That was a tough final climb. But the boys did all the work today. They did so well to keep the breakaways under control. They did everything, so it would be a bit rude not to pay it back to them,” said Culey.
“I had good legs and felt good today. I knew it was a hard final climb, but the team did their part to keep everything under control so for me it was just a matter of positioning and I just went for it. It looks good now for the win, so maybe we’ll just have some bunch sprints in the next two stages.”
Culey also extended his lead in the mountains classification with 27 points, 15 ahead of Indonesia’s Ahmad Yoga Ilham Firdaus of the PGN Road Cycling Team, while his lead in the points classification was also unaffected with Culey now on 31 points, 13 points ahead of PGN’s Rachmad Noka Wibisono and looking primed for a clean sweep of the three main jerseys on offer.
Culey’s teammate Mohd Nur Aiman Zariff finished ninth on the day to retain his lead in the young riders classfication with a four minutes and 19 seconds lead over Australian Bentley Niquet-Olden of the Carnegie Caulfields Cycling Club.
The Tour de Selangor 2019 enters its penultimate stage tomorrow, with Stage 4 covering 144.6km from Selayang to Sungai Besar.
The stage features two category 4 hotspots at KM14.8 in Rawang and KM51.1 in Kerling, before two intermediate sprints at KM62.8 in Hulu Bernam and KM116.5 at Sungai Panjang, with an increased likelihood of the first bunch sprint finish of the race.
Results – Stage 3 (90.1km from Cyberjaya to Bukit Jugra):
1 Marcus Culey (Aus) Sapura 2:02.08s,
2 Robin Jurado (Pan) TSG 2:02.18s,
3 Muhammad Zawawi Azman (Mas) Sapura 2:02.18s,
4 Hayato Okamoto (Jpn) Aisan 2:02.18s,
5 Shotaro Watanabe (Jpn) Aisan 2:02.29s,
6 Afiq Huznie (Mas) TSG 2:0234s,
7 Aiman Cahyadi (Ina) PGN 2:02.38s,
8 Nguyen Hoang Sang (Vie) Bikelife Dong Nai 2:02.38s,
9 Mohd Nur Aiman Zariff (Mas) Sapura 2:02.38s,
10 Ahmad Yoga Ilham Firdaus (Ina) PGN 2:02.47s.
General classification (yellow jersey):
1 Marcus Culey (Aus) Sapura 10:09.05s,
2 Loic Desriac (Fra) Bikelife Dong Nai +7″07s,
3 Shotaro Watanabe (Jpn) Aisan +8″56s,
4 Mohd Afiq Huznie Othman (Mas) TSG +9″30s,
5 Nguyen Hoang Sang (Vie) Bikelife Dong Nai +10″48s;
Points classification (green jersey):
1 Marcus Culey (Aus) Sapura 31 points,
2 Rachmad Noka Wibisono (Ina) PGN 18 points,
3 Shotaro Watanabe (Jpn) Aisan 17 points;
Mountains classification (polka dot jersey):
1 Marcus Culey (Aus) Sapura 27 points,
2 Ahmad Yoga Ilham Firdaus (Ina) PGN 12 points,
3 Loic Desriac (Fra) Bikelife Dong Nai 6 points;
Young riders classification (white jersey):
1 Mohd Nur Aiman Zariff (Mas) Sapura 10:19.59s,
2 Bentley Niquet-Olden (Aus) Carnegie Caulfields +4″19s,
3 Kakeru Omae (Jpn) Aisan +5″32s.