By Daniel Benson in Genting Highlands, Malaysia
Coming into the key stage of the Tour of Langkawi from Petaling Jaya to Genting Highlands, Cervélo TestTeam as amongst the favourite to win, but despite its best effort the Swiss team left empty handed.
The team had spent the first four days waiting in the wings as the sprinters fought out the flat stages. With stage five finishing at the resort of Genting, the team's climbers were hoping to shine. They had the perfect start when Marcel Wyss broke clear with Daniele Nardello after 30 kilometres.
Wyss helped establish a lead of over four minutes before the day's crucial climb up to Genting Highlands. He even managed to drop the experienced Italian on the lower slopes – no small feat considering Nardello's calibre.
"I was really pleased to get in the break today. We've been waiting for this stage for the entire race as we have not come here with a sprinter," Wyss said to Cyclingnews at the finish.
But once clear of Nardello, Wyss's and the team's luck began to change. A puncture at the wrong time cut Wyss's lead. Once he returned to the bunch, teammate José Angel Gomez Marchante lost contact.
Despite this, Britain's Dan Fleeman was still riding well and in contention for the stage. The Birmingham-born climber responded to Serpa's first attack but blew soon after. He fell back through the field and eventually finished a disappointing 23rd on the stage.
"I was right there with the group in the final ten kilometres and when Serpa charged off I was one of the first to go after him," Fleeman said.
Teammates Marchante – who had by now found a rhythm - and Philip Deignan eventually caught and passed Fleeman. The Spaniard and Irishman finished tenth and thirteenth respectively.