KUANTAN: Seo Joon Yong slayed the ghost of two years ago as he finally rose to the top step of the podium with his first ever stage after a solo attempt to take victory in Stage 5 of Le Tour de Langkawi 2015, at 200km the longest stage of this year’s race from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan today.
The 27-year old was part of a group of eight riders that launched an attack at 60km into the stage and went all the way with an uninterested peloton just managing to cut a gap that expanded to over 18 minutes at one point to 5 minutes and 20s at the finish line, as Seo rode solo for the last 25km to finish 13s ahead of second placed Jamalidin Novardianto of Pegasus Cycling, who ousprinted TSG’s Adiq Husainie Othman to take second place.
Seo was only the second South Korean to win a stage in LTdL and the 11th Asian, as he stated his pride in finally winning.
Seo, Jamalidin and Adiq had earlier been joined by Malaysia’s Loh Sea Keong, Pegasus‘ Rastra Patria, Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Molano Benevides and Skydive Dubai’s Maher Hasnaoui in the breakaway, but the South Korean’s solo attack had left the others surprised and unable to react until it was too late.
„Two years ago in Kuantan, it was also a breakaway, but I lost in a sprint (to Colnago-CSF Inox’s Marco Canola). So this time I didn’t want that to happen again and I didn’t want to let it end the same way. Thus at 25km to go, I decided to launch an early attack to try and win on my own,“ said Seo.
„I am proud of this win because it was hard-earned. Every year I come to LTdL and I try to do something. This time I managed to win a stage.“
Orica-GreenEdge’s Caleb Ewan remained in the yellow jersey, as he admitted it was always going to be a breakaway win today.
„When the breakaway went, we thought it would be okay. We could take a break and see how it goes after four days of hard racing in the heat. For us, it was okay and we thought that if others want to give it a go and catch the breakaway then go for a bunch sprint, we would join in and help, but nobody looked interested,“ said Ewan, who also remains in the points classification lead.
United Healthcare’s Kiel Reijnen also stayed in the lead of the mountains classification with a lead of 37 points, 19 more than second placed Natnael Berhane of MTN-Qhubeka. Giant-Champion System’s Zhang Wen Long also remains the leading Asian rider in the race.
Stage Six tomorrow is the shortest stage of the race at 96.6km, which will be expected to finish in another bunch sprint.
Photos by Le Tour de Langkawi 2015