When the rider wearing the white jersey of the best Asian rider, Meiyin Wang took off in the day's early breakaway at Le Tour de Langkawi, he wasn't thinking about the stage win. Wang was just sticking to the pre-race plan: go on the attack and show-off Chinese cycling to the world stage.
The heavily-stacked ProTeam and Pro-Continental field were happy to let Wang and his breakaway companions their time in the spotlight for the most of the the 140.km stage and allowed the gap to balloon to over 12 minutes. His time would be over when they chose, or so they thought.
The 24-year-old was clearly the strongest from the five-man attack group and when the road tilted up toward the Cameron Highlands Wang was off on his own. The rider who hails from Qufu – the birthplace of Confucius in the Shandong Provence only needed to ascent approximately 1,500m before cresting the finish line. He would also need to ride the final 40km on his own, which the bunch felt was highly unlikely.
The chasing field, whittled to less than 30 riders by the top could do nothing to stop the talented climber who simply maintained his advantage all the way to the line. The stage win and yellow jersey is not just a first for Wang but also for Chinese cycling. He's the first Chinese rider to win a stage at Langkawi and is now poised to become the first Asian rider to claim the Langkawi title.
"It was a very good day," said Wang through his teammate, translator and former ProTeam rider Fuyu Li.
"Our plan was not like this. We just tried to breakaway but not with me. Another two guys tried to breakaway but they couldn't get away so I jumped. I just tried but it turned out that I won today.
"It was not so easy but I tried to do my best. I want to show-off Chinese cycling. I want to show everyone for the Chinese [people]."
Entering the breakaway for the second time since the tour started is in part a small way of saying thank you to the organisers for giving them a chance to compete in one of Asia's most prestigious races, said Wang.
"I'm very thankful that our small team was invited to come to this race.
"I just wanted to show myself for Chinese cycling today but the race has only just begun. We will have to see after this stage if we receive more invitations [to other races on the Asia Tour]."
The rider who started his career in mountain biking and spent two years riding for Marco Polo in 2009 and 2010 told Cycingnews that his biggest goal is to join the top ranks of the WorldTour and that the terrain of Cameron Highlands was the ideal way for him to display his potential.
"My favourite type of stage is something like today, especially when it's hard like the Cameron Highlands; rolling and small mountains is what I like," he said.
"My dream is to go to a ProTeam, of course I would I want to one day go to the Tour de France, Giro or the Vuelta a Espana."
Wang will start the fourth stage with a 2:43 advantage over his nearest rival and with the majority of the pre-race favourites over three minutes in arrears, Wang has the potential to make history in Langkawi by becoming the first Asian or Chinese rider to win the 2.HC race.