Thomson triumphs in breakaway battle

Another day, another break but today the result was very different, as a plucky trio of escapees meticulously shared the spoils in Chukai, with Jay Thomson and Tobias Erler the biggest beneficiaries on another simmering day in the Malaysian sun.

Thomson, who plies his trade for Fly V Australia but is riding the Tour de Langkawi for the South African national squad, took the stage while Tabriz Petrochemical's German recruit, Erler, provided the Iranian team a surprise race lead early in the event after spending most of the day in a breakaway trio that also included Drapac-Porsche's strongman, David Pell.

It's the biggest win for the 23-year-old from Krugersdorp, who has also taken South Africa's national time trial title twice. "I came to the Tour de Langkawi with a stage win in mind - I've come off the Tour of Wellington with good form; good preparation in Australia with the heat and humidity there ensured it played out well today," said Thomson.

Following his win in stage two of the recent Tour of Wellington, Thomson knew he had the form to perform well in Malaysia - he explained that the trick was finding the right move to put that condition to good use.

"Before the stage today we discussed a plan to get somebody in the break - obviously we thought it could be done because of distance of the day and after ISD riding on the front all day we had a feeling that something would stick to the end," he said.

"Thanks go to my teammates, who set it up perfectly for me to get into the break today - to get a win plus a bit of a time buffer before Saturday's climb was always a bonus," added Thomson.

The heat was again a factor, sapping strength from a peloton that let the break stay away and finish more than three minutes ahead of Michael Matthews, yesterday's stage winner and today's yellow jersey winning the bunch sprint for fourth but dropping to the same position overall.

A new man in yellow

At the front of the overall standings, Erler, who works as a mathematics and physical education teacher, used the wisdom of a teacher to help guide the break to glory during the 182.3km stage. Having escaped about 50km into the day's proceedings, the importance of correctly pacing their efforts was paramount.

The rewards were bountiful for Erler, Thomson and Pell, who now stand three minutes clear of Matthews, a massive advantage overall given that the next three days are also flat ahead of Saturday's ascent in the Genting Highlands.

"It's great to be in the yellow jersey - I've won one before but to wear it in a race like this, with the world watching, is really nice," said Erler. "Today we knew I had to be in the breakaway and when I was there we did the perfect job - we rode so smart. I wanted to win the race but I'm in yellow, so I can't complain!

He explained the recipe for today's successful break, which was driven by three very strong riders: "When I saw that we had 30 second to a minute, I said that we had to slow down because I knew we would get eight to nine minutes for sure and then they have to ride. So if we opened the gap slowly we'd be closer to the finish [when the other teams began to chase] but if we opened the gap quickly we'd still have 100km to go.

"We opened the gap really slowly and I told the guys not to forget to eat because it's a hard day. When we saw the first climb I said, 'Now we have to start to ride' to make some hard work for the bunch.

"When I saw that with 20km to go we had five minutes it was a really nice feeling because everybody was strong and nobody was hiding. Everybody just rode with what they had and it was just a really nice race."

The 30-year-old German rode with Ghader Mizbani as part of the Giant Asia squad in 2006, the link bringing him to the Tabriz Petrochemical squad late last year. Last year I talked to Ghader Mizbani and asked him if he'd like to have me in his team - we became friends when I rode with him in 2006 at Giant Asia and he said, 'For sure'. I'm really happy in this team and I went to Iran for a training camp and saw that it's a beautiful country."

Asked if he expected to be in the race lead at this event, Erler quickly replied, "No", but added that, "I think I can stay in yellow UNTIL Genting but I probably won't be in yellow after Genting because I know the climb and my team has strong riders plus three minutes is just nothing if they start to ride 20 percent I have to lift up my 83 kilos...

I won the yellow in the Tour of Korea and there I saw that the this jersey [the leader's jersey] gives you so much power so I'll fight for it. But I also thinks it's hard to defend to Genting because the race today was hard in the first hour so I hope tomorrow that there's some structure in the race.

With Mizbani and Hossein Askari the team's main general classification riders, Erler is also aware that their aspirations come ahead of his own. "If we want to defend the yellow jersey I have to work for myself because they have to save their legs before Genting, but I think there is a chance to spend some more days in yellow," he explained.

"I don't want them to have to ride on the front because the big match up will be on Saturday and those guys will ride strongly."

Thomson was similarly circumspect about his chances to remain near the top of the standings. "We'll have to assess and see how our legs feel tomorrow - I think every day there's going to be a break and the guys are eager to find it. If we find ourselves in a position where we can conserve those three minutes before Saturday we'll make sure we can keep it till then.

"We'll have to wait and see what the slopes of Genting have to say - that's all we can do."

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Full Results
1Jay Thomson (RSA) South Africa National Team4:06:54
2Tobias Erler (Ger) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3David Pell (Aus) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Jayco - Skins0:03:03
5Anuar Manan (Mas) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Rene Weissinger (Ger) Vorarlberg - CorratecRow 5 - Cell 2
7Vidal Celis (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 6 - Cell 2
8Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Adiq Othman (Mas) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Christoff Van heerden (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Salleh Zamri (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13hossein Nateghi (IRI) Azad University IranRow 12 - Cell 2
14Alex Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 13 - Cell 2
15Rusli Amir (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Yeong Uk Kim (Kor) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Amrun Akmal (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Rastra Patria Dinawan (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 17 - Cell 2
19Junoh Kwon (Kor) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 18 - Cell 2
20hossein Askari (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Johann Rabie (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr) ISD - NeriRow 21 - Cell 2
23Mehdi Sohrabi (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Guo hui (Chn) Max Success SportsRow 23 - Cell 2
25Ahmad haidar Anuawar (Mas) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Neil Shirley (USA) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 25 - Cell 2
27herwin Jaya (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 26 - Cell 2
28Eugen Wacker (Kgz) Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Chuaikun Wiwatchai (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Liphongyu Nawuti (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Peter McDonald (Aus) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 30 - Cell 2
32Bradley hall (Aus) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Khakharman Merey (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Rafael Valls (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 33 - Cell 2
35David McCann (Irl) Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Boonratanatha Thurakit (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Bualoi Okart (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38hyo Suk Gong (Kor) Seoul CyclingRow 37 - Cell 2
39Alex Coutts (GBr) Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Barati Rasoul (IRI) Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42José Rujano Guillen (Ven) ISD - NeriRow 41 - Cell 2
43Philipp Ludescher (Aut) Vorarlberg - CorratecRow 42 - Cell 2
44Amir Zargari (IRI) Azad University IranRow 43 - Cell 2
45Shu Seok Kyu (Kor) Seoul CyclingRow 44 - Cell 2
46Masahiro Shinagawa (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Byeong Cheol Lee (Kor) Seoul CyclingRow 46 - Cell 2
48Tonton Susanto (Ina) Azad University IranRow 47 - Cell 2
49Markus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-ServettoRow 48 - Cell 2
50Abdullah Rizza Pahlavi (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 49 - Cell 2
51Edgar Nohales Nieto (Spa) Letua Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Zach Bell (Can) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 51 - Cell 2
53Ian McLeod (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Ruenmao Rattapong (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Changpad Kritsada (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Richard Lang (Aus) Team Jayco - SkinsRow 55 - Cell 2
57Zainal Rizuan (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Fu Xing (Chn) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Phuchong Sai-Udomsin (Tha) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Yilin Liu (Chn) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Aaron Donnelly (Aus) Team Jayco - SkinsRow 60 - Cell 2
62Alexis Rodriguez hernandez (Spa) Letua Cycling TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Wang Meiyin (Chn) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Pengda Jiao (Chn) Max Success SportsRow 63 - Cell 2
65Ruslan Pydgornyy (Ukr) ISD - NeriRow 64 - Cell 2
66Gang Xu (Chn) Max Success SportsRow 65 - Cell 2
67Patrick Lane (Aus) Team Jayco - SkinsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Matthias Brandle (Aut) Footon-ServettoRow 67 - Cell 2
69Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Ahad Kazemi (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Ali Fallanie (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Takumi Beppu (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Ghader Mizbani (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Christoph Sokoll (Aut) Vorarlberg - CorratecRow 73 - Cell 2
75Takeaki Ayabe (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Roman Zhiyentayev (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Shahrul Mat Amin (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jaco Venter (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Kazuhiro Mori (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Ji Wen Low (Sin) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 79 - Cell 2
81Daniel Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 80 - Cell 2
82Johnnie Walker (Aus) Footon-ServettoRow 81 - Cell 2
83Mark O'Brien (Aus) Letua Cycling TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Kuan hua Lai (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 84 - Cell 2
86hari Fitrianto (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 85 - Cell 2
87René haselbacher (Aut) Vorarlberg - CorratecRow 86 - Cell 2
88Scott Zwizanski (USA) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 87 - Cell 2
89Stuart Shaw (Aus) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 88 - Cell 2
90Nazar Jumabekov (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Pedro Merino (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 90 - Cell 2
92Josef Benetseder (Aut) Vorarlberg - CorratecRow 91 - Cell 2
93Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Alexandr Shushemoin (Kaz) Kazakhstan National TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Jung hwan Youm (Kor) Seoul CyclingRow 94 - Cell 2
96Yong Li Ng (Mas) Letua Cycling TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97hui Zhang (Chn) Max Success SportsRow 96 - Cell 2
98Igarashi Takeshi (Jpn) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Abbas Saedi Tanha (IRI) Azad University IranRow 98 - Cell 2
100Raul Castano Yuste (Spa) Letua Cycling TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Kenichi Suzuki (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Christopher Jennings (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Mohd hafiz Rozli (Mas) Letua Cycling TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104ho Se Yong (Kor) Seoul CyclingRow 103 - Cell 2
105Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) ISD - Neri0:03:24
106Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD - Neri0:03:39
107Sea Keong Loh (Mas) Marco Polo Cycling Team0:04:19
108Bartosz huzarski (Pol) ISD - Neri0:04:42
109Farshad Salehian (IRI) Azad University Iran0:05:56
110Dennis Pohl (Ger) Giant Asia Racing Team0:16:27
111Silvere Ackermann (Swi) Vorarlberg - Corratec0:16:28
112Ming Xing Xue (Chn) Max Success Sports0:19:32
OTLJiong Wang (Chn) Max Success Sports0:25:58
OTLMalcom Rudolph (Aus) Team Jayco - SkinsRow 113 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Kg Pela
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Jayco - Skins5pts
2Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) ISD - Neri3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Kazakhstan National Team2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Ahmad haidar Anuawar (Mas) Marco Polo Cycling Team1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - Dendang
1Tobias Erler (Ger) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team5pts
2David Pell (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jay Thomson (RSA) South Africa National Team2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Wang Meiyin (Chn) Marco Polo Cycling Team1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Sprint 3 - Dungun
1Tobias Erler (Ger) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team5pts
2Jay Thomson (RSA) South Africa National Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3David Pell (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Wang Meiyin (Chn) Marco Polo Cycling Team1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Climb 1 - Landas, Category 4
1Peter McDonald (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling4pts
2Zainal Rizuan (Mas) Malaysia National Team2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Gang Xu (Chn) Max Success Sports1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Climb 2 - Kijal, Category 4
1David Pell (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling4pts
2Jay Thomson (RSA) South Africa National Team2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Tobias Erler (Ger) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Teams
1South Africa National Team12:26:48
2Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 1 - Cell 2
3Tabriz Petrochemical CyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Geumsan Ginseng Asia0:03:03
5Malaysia National TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Kazakhstan National TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Footon-ServettoRow 6 - Cell 2
8Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 7 - Cell 2
9Polygon Sweet NiceRow 8 - Cell 2
10Thailand National TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Azad University IranRow 11 - Cell 2
13Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Team Jayco- SkinsRow 13 - Cell 2
15Vorarlberg-CorratecRow 14 - Cell 2
16ISD-NeriRow 15 - Cell 2
17Aisan Racing TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Seoul CyclingRow 17 - Cell 2
19Champion System-MaxRow 18 - Cell 2
20Letua Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
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Asian Teams
1Geumsan Ginseng Asia12:29:51
2Malaysia National TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Kazakhstan National TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Polygon Sweet NiceRow 3 - Cell 2
5Thailand National TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Azad University IranRow 5 - Cell 2
7Tabriz Petrochemical CyclingRow 6 - Cell 2
8Aisan Racing TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Seoul CyclingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Giant Asia Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Champion System-MaxRow 11 - Cell 2
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General Classification
1Tobias Erler (Ger) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team8:29:35
2David Pell (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling0:00:05
3Jay Thomson (RSA) South Africa National Team0:00:07
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Jayco - Skins0:03:02
5Anuar Manan (Mas) Geumsan Ginseng Asia0:03:09
6Vidal Celis (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 5 - Cell 2
7Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Kazakhstan National Team0:03:10
8Peter McDonald (Aus) Drapac Porsche Cycling0:03:12
9Zainal Rizuan (Mas) Malaysia National Team0:03:13
10Bualoi Okart (Tha) Thailand National Team0:03:14
11Ruslan Pydgornyy (Ukr) ISD - NeriRow 10 - Cell 2
12Christoff Van heerden (RSA) South Africa National Team0:03:15
13Salleh Zamri (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Johann Rabie (RSA) South Africa National TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Rusli Amir (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Yeong Uk Kim (Kor) Geumsan Ginseng AsiaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Aisan Racing TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr) ISD - NeriRow 17 - Cell 2
19Amrun Akmal (Mas) Malaysia National TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20hossein Nateghi (IRI) Azad University IranRow 19 - Cell 2
21Rastra Patria Dinawan (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 20 - Cell 2
22Bradley hall (Aus) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Ahmad haidar Anuawar (Mas) Marco Polo Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Adiq Othman (Mas) Drapac Porsche CyclingRow 23 - Cell 2
25Liphongyu Nawuti (Tha) Thailand National TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Markus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-ServettoRow 25 - Cell 2
27herwin Jaya (Ina) Polygon Sweet NiceRow 26 - Cell 2
28Alex Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 27 - Cell 2
29Mehdi Sohrabi (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30David McCann (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team<