(Langkawi, 18 Oct 2012): Fabian Giger and Lea Davison are in the driving seats to land the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge 2012 titles after both retained respective leaders’ jersey after the third stage today. Giger from Rabobank-Giant rode a calculated race to stay on course for the overall title by finishing one minute and fifty three point zero five six seconds behind Kristian Hynek of Ceska-Sporitelna Specialized who won the 63.9km Langkawi Marathon by clocking 3:53:35.79 with Todd Wells of Team Specialized came in third.
Giger described the Stage 3 as the hardest race of LIMBC, “This is the hardest race so far. I am a cross-country rider, so a shorter race fits me better than today. It was a fast first lap between me, Emil Lindgren and Hynek. In the third lap I had to go on my own speed but I managed to close the gap on Hynek”.
The Marathon today was reduced to 21.3km per lap after the UCI decided that it was best to shorten the distance by 5.7km due to weather condition. “The race today was very tough, it was a perfect decision since it would take around four hours to complete a marathon and bit more climb would be too much. In the end, I managed to get on the podium and I am happy about it,” said the beaming Swiss rider who has four minutes and twenty three point eight two seconds advantage ahead of Hynek.
When asked about the prospect of clinching the overall title, Giger said: “The title is not in the bag. But I want to hold to this shirt. This is a nice jersey..” The Stage 3 winner Hynek concurred the competition was far from over. The Czech rider said: “It is important for me to win this stage and went on the attack today as I want to move into second place in the overall standing. We still have two stages and we will see.”
In the Women’s open, Lea Davison paced herself well to stay on course for the overall title with second placing behind Eva Lechner from Colnago Sudtirol who won the 42.6km off-road track by clocking 3:06:52.29, with Elisabeth Sveum in third place. “It was my strategy to stay in touch with the leading pack today. I want to save up my energy today as I realised I have quite a comfortable time ahead of other riders. In this competition, it is important to know how to apply the right strategy,” said the 29-year-old American from Team Specialized.
Lechner refused to concede defeat for the title. “We still have until Saturday. Anything can happen. Tomorrow is another stage and I will keep attacking,” she said.
Malaysia’s best finishes today were Abdul Razak Kamis from Kedah with third placing in Senior Men’s Master while Masziyaton Mohd Radzi improved her position from Stage 2 with a decent ninth position in the Women’s Open today with the of 3:51:06.72. Meanwhile, Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi remained the best local male rider by finishing 15th from the overall 51 participants who completed the Stage 3 in the Men’s Open.
Australian Jenni King (Anytime Fitness/Trek) is comfortably in 8th position in the open women.
Tomorrow’s Stage 4 is an Olympic distance Cross Country race around Langkawi GeoPark followed by Stage 5, a stunning beach front finale around a short circuit at Pantai Kok.