Champion System
March, 09 2011   Bookmark and Share
Jelajah Malaysia 2011, Stage 2
By Steve Thomas/

Scorching temperatures greeted the riders for today’s stage 2 of the 2011 Jelajah Malaysia, a 204km marathon jaunt between Bandar Penawar, in the deep southeast of Malaysia, and the small town of Kluang in the southern central region. The stage parcours was about as flat as a lumpy pancake, which could be said for all of the stages in this year’s Jelajah, although with harsh weather conditions and a snapping pace to deal with it certainly doesn’t make for an easy ride.

Following the wind-swept and idyllic east coast northwards the riders were treated to gusty winds howling in from the South China Sea, which were to cause a little devastation along the way – both in terms of crashes and splits caused by the harsh cross winds, which caught many of the less experienced riders unawares. Add in a torrential downpour just before halfway and it made for a tough day in the saddle, and one which would end the hopes of many riders along the way.

With Team Champion System rider Mart Ojavee poised in second place overall, just 2 seconds behind the yellow jersey, the team was hoping to snatch a lead should condition allow them to do so. A series of early punctures left them chasing back to the peleton, which came under a great deal of pressure as the race turned westwards and made its way through open palm plantations. Here the cross-winds really put the pressure on, and the race started to split.

With just 30km to the line a promising group escaped, which included Jaan Kirsipuu; things were looking good for CS, but unfortunately the yellow jersey of Mehdi Sohrabi was missing from the selection and, took up the chase himself, slowly pulling the race back together.

Entering the final 3km and the race climbed a slight rise, and then dipped into a partially downhill finish. It was here that Spanish La Tua guest rider Vidal Celis Zabala slipped off the front to take the stage win by just about holding off a mass bunch sprint, where Team CS captain Jaan Kirsipuu finished in 10th spot.

The racing resumes again tomorrow, so please tune in again soon..