The effort was gallant from Terengganu Cycling team (TSG) but in the end, the five stage wins – including today’s Stage Six through Shinichi Fukushima – failed to prevent Yusup Abrekov of the Uzbekistan Suren team from grabbing the overall individual crown in the Jelajah Malaysia 2012.
“I am very happy,” said Abrekov. “I had very good condition in the race against some good teams. But my team worked very hard throughout and we had some help of course from some of the other teams.”
At the end of the sixth and final stage today, all major jerseys remained as they were with Abrekov also winning the blue jersey for the best-ranked Asian rider while the red jersey went to Dadi Suryadi of Indonesia’s Putra Perjuangan, whose team also took the title for the best team this year.
Malaysia Development team’s Muhammad Adiq Husainie Othman grabbed two jerseys in the Jelajah Malaysia 2012 - the 100PLUS white jersey for the best Malaysian rider as well as the green jersey for the best sprinter.
“The plan was to finish in the top five in the GC but I’m still happy with the sixth placing overall (which also saw me confirming my position as the best ranked Malaysian for the 100PLUS white jersey),” added Adiq. “As I’ve said earlier, I wanted to use this Jelajah as preparation for the Tour of Japan, so I’m really satisfied with what I’ve got from the race.”
As it was in the last few stages, several breakaways were attempted at the start but the reaction from the peloton which was driven by Uzbekistan Suren, Genesys Wealth and Malaysia Development team this time round, was swift as they were all caught before they were able to carve out much of a lead.
It was only after the 21km marker that seven riders - Dadi, Arin Iswana (Putra), Agung Riyanto (Polygon), Jai Crawford (RTS), Fito Bakdo Prilanji (CCN), Shinichi Fukushima (TSG) and Nozomu Kimori (Aisan) – managed to break free as they went on to carve a lead of more than a minute going into the first sprint.
The sprint at Tapah was grabbed by Arin Iswana (Putra) to be followed by Crawford (RTS), Agung (Polygon), and Nozomu Kimori (Aisan).
With no response from the peloton, the seven riders opened up a lead of close to three minutes heading into the second sprint at Slim River which was picked up by Kimori, Crawford and Fito Bakdo in that order.
Dadi then went on to pick up the full points in the first KOM, a cat. 4 climb at Kuala Kubu Baru to confirm his win of the red jersey this year.
“We have achieved our target of winning the red jersey and it was especially nice to also grab the team title,” added Dai afterwards.
Approaching the third sprint at Serendah, there was finally a sort of response from the peloton as they brought the time gap to just under two minutes as Arin took the full sprint points to be followed by Dadi and Fito.
With the third and final sprint over, Adiq confirmed his hold of the green jersey with 89 points, well ahead of second placed Hariff Salleh (TSG) with 58 points.
Crawford and Fukushima then went off immediately after the cat. 4 climb in Rawang, which was taken by Crawford, as the others dropped off to re-join the peloton.
The peloton then drove up to chase the two riders, Crawford and Fukushima going into the last few kilometres into Dataran Merdeka. But Fukushima had just the right motivation to cross the line first as team-mates Hariff Salleh and Mohd Zamri Saleh then moved up to make it one-two-three for TSG in the final count.
“If we had kept the yellow, I don’t think that we could have won so many stages,” said Shinichi, whose TSG team won five out of six stages this year.
PODIUM RESULTS – FINAL
Stage winner – Shinichi Fukushima (Terengganu Cycling team)
Yellow Jersey - Yusup Abrekov (Uzbekistan Suren Team)
Green jersey - Muhammad Adiq Husainie Othman (Malaysia Development)
Red jersey – Dadi Suryadi (Putra Perjuangan)
White jersey (Best Malaysian) - Muhammad Adiq Husainie Othman (Malaysia Development)
Blue jersey (Best Asian) – Yusup Abrekov (Uzbekistan Suren Team)
Best Team: Putra Perjuangan (Indonesia)