Champion System rings a Bell at Tour de Taiwan

Louis Meintjes impresses, Bernard Sulzberger moves into the lead

If one name remains from stage 4 of the 25th Tour de Taiwan, it’s that of Louis Meintjes. The 21-year-old from MTN-Qhubeka launched an offensive from a long way out but a counter-attack by runner up Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac) eventually dethroned Kirill Pozdnyakov (Baku) while Canada’s Zachary Bell delivered Champion System’s first win in the big league of cycling, which includes the races of category 1 and above, one year after the promotion of the China-registered squad in the Pro Continental ranks.

“It feels great to be back as a winner on the road after a while,” said Bell after the finish. The 30-year-old decided to focus exclusively on road racing after carrying the flag for Canada on the track and becoming a father for the first time in October last year. His last road race was effectively the national championship in June, as he didn’t finish stage 1 of the Tour of Colorado after that. His latest international victory also goes as far back as at the 2007 Vuelta a El Salvador.

“I was happy to have the opportunity to race for Champion System and especially at Asian races,” Bell explained. “This continent offers some of the best venues for racing. I enjoy it here. It’s an interesting kind of racing because of the very motivated field. There’s always somebody who wants to make it hard, while in North America, the racing can be very negative sometimes. Today, after I broke away with a Japanese rider, when I saw the two MTN riders coming across, I could see they were very motivated. They made the race today. It played in my favour, so did the comeback of Sulzberger because Drapac kept our group away till the end. For Champion System, to win in Taiwan is huge!”

The first man in action was also from Champion System: Taiwan’s Feng Chun Kai who targets the king of the mountains competition went away from the gun and created a front group of 17 riders who stayed away until km 36. They were soon relayed ahead of the bunch by Takero Terasaki (Japan) and Bell. The duo was rejoined twenty kilometers later (at km 59) by Gordon McCauley (Drapac), Louis Meintjes and Johan van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), Qin Chen Lu (Max Success) and Kohei Uchima (Japan).

With a maximum lead of 2:25, Meintjes who was lying in tenth position on GC only 25 seconds down on Pozdnyakov became the virtual leader of the Tour de Taiwan until a group of five counter attackers came across, including Sulzberger with the help of Floris Goesinen, also from Drapac, Ryoma Nonaka (Shimano Racing), Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme Marseille) and Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis). The junction was made within 10km to go.

A former track rider, Bell proved to be the fastest on the finishing line in front the Metropolitan Park of Taichung, ahead of Vaubourzeix and Sulzberger who got a significant advantage from his surprising offensive in the downhill of the Taichung Route 95 after the KOM at km 74. The Tasmanian leads the Tour de Taiwan by 28 seconds over the sensation of the day, Meintjes, and former leader Pozdnyakov.

“It was improvised”, Sulzberger admitted. “I went away downhill, then with my Dutch teammate Floris Goesinnen, we rode hard till we reached the front of the race. With a 28-second lead, the race is still there to be won overall. It’s not a huge gap but I’m in a better situation than where I was yesterday. There are still a lot of guys in contention. The Tour de Taiwan is really competitive. It’s hard racing every day, very fast, I like it!”

Another change of leadership occurred in the king of the mountains competition but instead of the highly awaited Feng Chun Kai, the new wearer of the polka dot jersey is Qin Chen Lu. The 20-year-old from Max Success, who was also one of the most active riders in the previous day’s breakaway, rode away from the front group on the first category climb of the Taichung Route 95 but showed that his ability for riding downhill are about the opposite of his skills as a climber. He got caught and dropped consecutively but showed the increasing depth of Chinese cycling. “It was slippery after the rain, so I put safety first,” said Qin.

Bell warned there’s also more to be seen from his Chinese team. “We have a lot of cards to play,” the Canadian explained. “We’re not going to sit down and enjoy the rest of the race. Drapac is now probably motivated to keep their lead. [Feng Chun] Kai is a quiet guy but you’ll see a lot more from him in the future. Adiq [Hussainie from Malaysia] is still up there on GC. We’re gonna look to make more of an impact to the race.”

Stage 5 to Taoyuan features another uphill finish while stage 6 is a more difficult one with more possibilities to reshuffle the overall classification prior to the closing criterium in Taipei on Sunday morning.
 

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zachary Bell (Can) Champion System Pro Cycling Team2:39:10 
2Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille  
3Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling  
4Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Japan National Team  
5Liam Holohan (GBr) Madison Genesis Team  
6Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN Qhubeka  
7Ryoma Nonaka (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team  
8Floris Goesinnen (Ned) DRAPAC Cycling0:00:06 
9Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:00:25 
10Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling  
11Grischa Janorschke (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS  
12Robbie Hucker (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling  
13Mohammad Saufi Mat Senan (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
14Benjamin Edmüller (Ger) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer  
15Boonratanathanakorn Thurakit (Tha) Thailand National Team  
16Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
17Mohd Nur Rizuan Zainal (Mas) Malaysia National Team  
18Sirironnachai Sarawut (Tha) Thailand National Team  
19Takeaki Ayabe (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
20Hao Liu (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team  
21Adiq Othman (Mas) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
22Sai-Udomsin Phuchong (Tha) Thailand National Team  
23Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
24Yuzuru Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team  
25Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser  
26Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
27Yoshimitsu Hiratsuka (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
28Oddbjørn Klomtsen Andersen (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
29Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lufti (Mas) Malaysia National Team  
30Hui Zhang (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team  
31Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling  
32Nathan Earle (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser  
33Max Walsleben (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS  
34Dirk Müller (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS  
35Christoph Scweizer (Ger) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
36Yat Wai Chan (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
37Po Hung Wu (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida  
38En Huang (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team  
39Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille  
40Chun Wing Leung (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
41Jakub Kratochvila (Cze) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer  
42Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling  
43Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) MTN Qhubeka  
44Yin Chih Wang (Tpe) CCN Cycling Team  
45Christopher Jenninngs (RSA) Team La Pomme Marseille  
46Che Wei Hu (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida  
47Morten Sandvik (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
48Mohd Saiful Anwar Azis (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
49Lee Rodgers (GBr) CCN Cycling Team  
50Ryan Sherlock (Irl) Polygon Sweet Nice Team  
51Masakazu Ito (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
52Dennis Van Niekerk (RSA) MTN Qhubeka  
53Gordon Mccauley (NZl) DRAPAC Cycling  
54Kun Hung Hung (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida  
55Ki Ho Choi (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
56Ian Bibby (GBr) Madison Genesis Team  
57Yi Hao Tseng (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida  
58David Clarke (GBr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
59King Lok Cheung (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
60Mark Dowling (Irl) Polygon Sweet Nice Team  
61Burr Ho (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
62Kirill Pozdnyakov (Rus) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
63Takero Terasaki (Jpn) Japan National Team  
64Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN Qhubeka  
65John Kronborg Ebsen (Den) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
66Benjamin Sydlik (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS  
67Hiroki Nishimura (Jpn) Japan National Team  
68Dominic Jelfs (Irl) Madison Genesis Team  
69Ohko Shimizu (Jpn) Japan National Team  
70Chen Lu Qin (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team  
71Sigurd Nesset (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
72Jai Crawford (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser  
73Andreas Müller (Aut) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer  
74Hsin Hua Huang (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:00:36 
75Mohd Nor Umardi Rosdi (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
76Rick Ampler (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:00:45 
77Ahmad Fahmi Farhan Ahmad Fuat (Mas) Malaysia National Team0:01:11 
78Nur Arif Prayoga (Ina) Polygon Sweet Nice Team0:01:16 
79Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN Qhubeka0:01:20 
80Andrew Tennant (GBr) Madison Genesis Team0:02:02 
81Brennan Townshend (GBr) Madison Genesis Team  
82Petr Lechner (Cze) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer0:02:18 
83Masahiko Yasui (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:02:56 
84Patrick Shaw (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser0:00:25 
85Mart Ojavee (Est) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:03:30 
86Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
87Halvor Tandrevold (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
88Thomas Palmer (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling  
89Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling  
90Yasuharo Nakajima (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team0:03:59 
91Shotaro Iribe (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:04:00 
92Shimpei Fukuda (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team0:05:19 
93Joseph Cooper (NZl) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser  
94Liphongyu Navuti (Tha) Thailand National Team0:07:43 
DNFMartyn Irvine (Irl) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling  
DNFYue Peng Liu (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team  
General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling12:03:14 
2Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN Qhubeka0:00:28 
3Kirill Pozdnyakov (Rus) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
4Nathan Earle (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser0:00:31 
5Oddbjørn Klomtsen Andersen (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi0:00:37 
6Ki Ho Choi (HKg) Team Hong Kong China0:00:41 
7Liam Holohan (GBr) Madison Genesis Team0:00:43 
8Mohammad Saufi Mat Senan (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team0:00:47 
9Masakazu Ito (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
10Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) MTN Qhubeka  
11Adiq Othman (Mas) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:00:53 
12Sigurd Nesset (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
13King Lok Cheung (HKg) Team Hong Kong China0:00:54 
14Robbie Hucker (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling0:00:55 
15Sai-Udomsin Phuchong (Tha) Thailand National Team0:00:59 
16Yuzuru Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:01:04 
17David Clarke (GBr) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team  
18Jai Crawford (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser  
19Ian Bibby (GBr) Madison Genesis Team0:01:06 
20Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser0:01:08 
21Yoshimitsu Hiratsuka (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team  
22Morten Sandvik (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi  
23Po Hung Wu (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:01:19 
24Hui Zhang (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team0:01:27 
25Chen Lu Qin (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team0:01:29 
26Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lufti (Mas) Malaysia National Team0:01:35 
27Ryan Sherlock (Irl) Polygon Sweet Nice Team0:01:38 
28Mark Dowling (Irl) Polygon Sweet Nice Team0:01:39 
29John Kronborg Ebsen (Den) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team0:01:40 
30Sirironnachai Sarawut (Tha) Thailand National Team0:01:46 
31Christoph Scweizer (Ger) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team0:01:57 
32Dirk Müller (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:02:03 
33Hao Liu (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team0:02:07 
34Boonratanathanakorn Thurakit (Tha) Thailand National Team0:02:10 
35Kun Hung Hung (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:02:17 
36Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille0:02:36 
37Andreas Müller (Aut) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer0:02:37 
38Yat Wai Chan (HKg) Team Hong Kong China  
39Christopher Jenninngs (RSA) Team La Pomme Marseille0:02:44 
40Mohd Saiful Anwar Azis (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team0:02:45 
41Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team0:02:55 
42En Huang (Chn) Max Success Sports Cycling Team0:02:57 
43Lee Rodgers (GBr) CCN Cycling Team0:02:58 
44Takeaki Ayabe (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team0:03:02 
45Floris Goesinnen (Ned) DRAPAC Cycling0:03:04 
46Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:03:05 
47Hsin Hua Huang (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:03:08 
48Mohd Nor Umardi Rosdi (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team  
49Ryoma Nonaka (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:03:31 
50Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:03:35 
51Ohko Shimizu (Jpn) Japan National Team0:03:50 
52Benjamin Edmüller (Ger) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer0:03:54 
53Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille0:04:04 
54Grischa Janorschke (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:04:07 
55Jakub Kratochvila (Cze) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer0:04:09 
56Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN Qhubeka0:04:35 
57Zachary Bell (Can) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:04:50 
58Yin Chih Wang (Tpe) CCN Cycling Team0:04:57 
59Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Japan National Team0:05:02 
60Halvor Tandrevold (Nor) Team Frøy-Bianchi0:05:06 
61Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team0:06:20 
62Dennis Van Niekerk (RSA) MTN Qhubeka0:06:34 
63Petr Lechner (Cze) ARBÖ-Gebrüder Weiss-Oberndorfer0:06:37 
64Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling0:06:58 
65Masahiko Yasui (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:07:13 
66Max Walsleben (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:07:32 
67Patrick Shaw (Aus) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser0:07:52 
68Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling0:08:25 
69Nur Arif Prayoga (Ina) Polygon Sweet Nice Team0:08:46 
70Luke Keough (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling0:09:20 
71Burr Ho (HKg) Team Hong Kong China0:09:41 
72Benjamin Sydlik (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:09:50 
73Dominic Jelfs (Irl) Madison Genesis Team0:10:29 
74Che Wei Hu (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:11:02 
75Yi Hao Tseng (Tpe) Team Senter - Merida0:11:32 
76Gordon Mccauley (NZl) DRAPAC Cycling0:11:33 
77Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN Qhubeka0:12:13 
78Rick Ampler (Ger) NUTRIXXION ABUS0:12:17 
79Liphongyu Navuti (Tha) Thailand National Team0:12:57 
80Thomas Palmer (Aus) DRAPAC Cycling0:13:09 
81Andrew Tennant (GBr) Madison Genesis Team0:13:15 
82Takero Terasaki (Jpn) Japan National Team0:13:24 
83Mart Ojavee (Est) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:13:40 
84Yasuharo Nakajima (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team0:14:10 
85Hiroki Nishimura (Jpn) Japan National Team0:14:19 
86Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team0:14:26 
87Ahmad Fahmi Farhan Ahmad Fuat (Mas) Malaysia National Team0:14:28 
88Brennan Townshend (GBr) Madison Genesis Team0:15:15 
89Mohd Nur Rizuan Zainal (Mas) Malaysia National Team0:16:04 
90Joseph Cooper (NZl) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Adviser0:16:57 
91Chun Wing Leung (HKg) Team Hong Kong China0:17:02 
92Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling0:18:18 
93Shimpei Fukuda (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team0:20:34 
94Shotaro Iribe (Jpn) Shimano Racing Team0:24:44 

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