By Anthony Tan in Seremban, Malaysia
Ever since they announced their entry into the professional peloton some months ago, Tinkoff Credit Systems have talked the talk. And it wasn't much more than that. But on a stinking hot Saturday in Seremban, 25 year-old Pavel Brutt walked the walk.
Held on a brutal up-and-down, 173 kilometre-long parcours, the super-strong Russian used a combination of determination and brute strength to first go away in the day's early move, open a lead that at one stage threatened the maillot jaune, before changing his tactics in an all-out assault for victory.
As Brutt crossed the line with his fist clenched low, three seconds clear of Sergey Kolesnikov (Unibet.com) and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom), one could see from his facial expression that victory was significant. "It was a very difficult stage - I think it was nine and a half... no, ten," he smiled, asked to rate the difficulty of today's effort out of ten. "But to be the first Tinkoff rider to win a stage, I'm very happy."
For full coverage of stage 9 of the Tour de Langkawi, click here.