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Bunch says 'no' in Langkawi
By Anita van Crey
Date: 2/6/2004
Bunch says 'no' in Langkawi
First stage in Langkawi and first non-sprint. Local policemen in the finish town of Taiping mistakenly let allowed vehicles onto the course with less than eight kilometres remaining. With cars on the road, riders abandoned all thoughts of a massive sprint and in doing so, unofficially neutralised the day's stage. The circuit was there for two remaining laps and supposed to be closed until someone opened the fences and let traffic in. A disappointed race director Alan Rushton: "The riders offered to do another lap very sportingly, but we couldn't do that because the road was already open, so all we could do was neutralise the stage and give the jerseys to the guys in front who deserved them for their efforts today."

Bunch says no-go
Photo: Gerald Lee
The rider from Philippines' first trade team, Merculio Ramos (Pagcor-Casino Filipino) won two out of three intermediate sprints and may wear the Tour's first yellow jersey. Yongbiao Zhu (China), wears the blue jersey for best sprinter, with the best Asian rider jersey going to another early escapist and Ramos' team-mate, Lloyd Lucien Reynante.

Yongbiao Zhu (China) attacked at the 10 kilometre mark and was soon joined by Merculio Ramos (Pagcor-Casino Filipino). The duo from Asia worked well together and build a 40 seconds lead to three men. Lloyd Lucien Reynante (Pagcor-Casino Filipino), Hamad Mohd Mahazir and Musa Musairi (Malaysia) ath their turn were at half a minute lead of the bunch. The lead of the breakaway grew to a max of 5'18, than the hunt chased down the gap rapidly.

Roland Green takes home to Langkawi
Photo: Gerald Lee
Slight confusion marred the end of the first stage of the Tour de Langkawi today as police let cars on to the finishing circuit too early. With a sprint finish impossible, the entire bunch was awarded the same time and Merculio Ramos (Pagcor-Casino Filipino) was awarded the leader's jersey on time bonuses. Two riders did not start this first stage; both Rujano Ven) and Honig (Hol).

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