FRONTRUNNER: Giant Pro XC rider grabs first stage win
THE frontrunners for the title of overall champion of the 2013 Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) are beginning to take shape after team Giant Pro XC's Emil Lindgren won the first stage of the series yesterday.
The Swede conquered the 65km cross-country marathon around the island in 2 hours 19 minutes 39.328s, just ahead of France's Maxime Marotte and Japan's Kohei Yamamoto. The three were separated by less than a second.
"Today's race was extremely hard, the track conditions this year were a bit better than last year, but almost as muddy. We needed to ride safely and not take too many risks, so I am pleased to win," said a visibly exhausted Lindgren.
His teammate and defending men's open champion Fabian Giger had to pull out from the race after his bike suffered a mechanical problem.
Meanwhile, Yamamoto is hoping to claim the best male Asian rider prize after his surprise finish on the podium.
"Maxime was leading the race for a long time, and in the final 15km, Emil and I managed to catch up with him, but I was too tired to push further and had to settle for third," said the team Specialized Racing rider, whose first outing here in 2011 was a forgettable one.
Germany's Adelheid Morath was triumphant once again in the women's category, following her win in the UCI world championship qualifier on Saturday.
She faced a close battle with Italy's Eva Lechner, who topped the time trial charts on Monday, and Slovakia's Blaza Klemencic, with all three women crossing the finish line within half a second of each other.
Morath, who rides for team Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro, was slightly upset with the lack of clear signs along the route, which had caused her to take a wrong turn at one stage.
She admitted yesterday's race was too technically challenging to her liking, and said she hoped the remaining stages would be different.
The second stage of the series takes place today, comprising a 45km cross-country point-to-point race from the east to the west of the island.
STAGE 1 RESULTS:
Men's Open: 1 Emil Lindgren (Swe) 02:19:39.328, 2 Maxime Marotte (Fra) 02:19:40.240, 3 Kohei Yamamoto (JPN) 02:19:40.249
Women's Open: 1 Adelheid Morath (Ger) 02:47:04.372, 2 Eva Lechner (Ita) 02:47:04.624, 3 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) 02:47:04.724
Senior Men's Master Open: 1 Mads Bodker (Den) 02:53:26.235, 2 Derek David Milne (NZL) 02:53:36.890, 3 Craig Peacock (Aus) 02:57:51.310
Men's Master Open: 1 Marzio Deho (Ita) 02:29.41.78, 2 Nicholas Craig (GBR) 02:31:01.66, 3 Patrick Jansen (Ned) 02:40:38.76.