Two years ago Jonathan Monsalve took his most important victory atop Genting Highlands at Tour de Langkawi in his first year as a professional but this year hasn't gone to plan for the winner of the 2011 edition.
Last year Monsalve was part of the winning Androni Giocatolli squad as part of the line-up designated to support the eventual winner Jose Serpa, who won his second overall title. Monsalve would finish the race in 15th overall but he arrived this year with ambitions to win for his new Vini Fantini - Selle Italia team.
Monsalve started Stage 6 with the GC essentially out of reach. He rolled out for the longest stage on tour at 217.5km in 11th overall and 2:29 behind the race lead but had the determination to go on the attack. The escape failed to bear a result but it showed his resolve and persistence, something he'll need plenty of when he starts the Giro d'Italia and makes his grand tour debut this year.
"I really wanted to arrive in the top position, in this jersey [at Genting] but the most important race this year for me is the Giro d'Italia. I'll go to Coppi Bartali and Giro Trentino after this and they will be my next big goals," he told Cyclingnews.
Monsalve had been part of the leading group that formed on the relentless ascent to Genting was unable to follow the winning move, eventually coming in 2:29 behind the day's winner and current yellow jersey holder Julián Arredondo (Nippo - De Rosa)
With the Venezulean's general classication hopes dashed at Genting, he had the determination to go on the attack. His time out front was brought back after a furious chase from the bunch, he slotted back in and finished with the main field at the end of the day.
"I wanted to arrive at Genting in the first position but I wasn't so good, the others were much stronger," Monsalve told Cyclingnews.
The 23-year-old's stage win on the famous Malaysian Mountain in 2011 played an integral part in his siege on the general classification but that doesn't mean his race is over.
Monsalve arrived at Langkawi with a dual leadership role with his new Vini Fantini - Selle Italia squad, dividing his GC ambition with sprint stage wins with Francesco Chicchi and while his Italian teammate has brought success, Monsalve was dissapointed not to be able to do the same. However he won't be giving up so easily. There's still plenty of other opportunities before departing Malaysia, according to the developing climber
"I really wanted to try to arrive in a better position but it's a new race this year.
"This year the start list is the best I have seen from other years but there will be plenty of other days where we can try for a result." said Monsalve.
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