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Tour of Indonesia - 2.2

Indonesia, September 12-21, 2005

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Stage 8 - September 20: Jember - Banyuwangi, 112 km

Mountains champ comes good

By Tod Mohamed

Kazakh mountain-bike racer Yevgeniy Yakolev showed he is also a force on the road on Tuesday, winning Stage 8 of the Dji Sam Soe Tour d'Indonesia and locking up the King of the Mountains competition. Yakolev and his team Polygon Sweet Nice rode the perfect stage, controlling the peloton, then launching Yakolev to twin victories.

"We needed to win. Until today, we didn't have any medals (in this Tour). My plan today was to win the KOM. After that, the plan was to win the stage," the Kazakh said matter-of-factly after the race.

Stage 8, shortened to just 100 kilometres, featured a third-category climb that began shortly after the start and peaked with a summit sprint for the last KOM points of the Tour; after that the riders faced a long, twisty descent followed by a short flat section into Banyuwangi. The climb held some of the most beautiful scenery of the Tour, rising through lush rice paddies and stands of cemera pine trees. But with a tight battle for the polka-dot KOM jersey, there was scant time for the riders to enjoy the view.

Yakolev began the day with a very slim lead in the best-climber competition, with his principle threat being Maint Berkenbosch (The Jong en Laan). Early on the climb, four riders jumped away and quickly gained 40 seconds on the pack, threatening to gobble up the KOM points that Berkenbosch badly needed if wanted to take the jersey. That forced the Dutch rider to go the front, in a desperate bid to push the pace and reel in the breakaway before they reached the summit. At the top, all of the breakaway riders had come back - save Chan Chun Hung (Purapharm), who took the first place KOM points. Behind Chan, the climbers duked it out - but Berkenbosch couldn't match Yakolev's final kick. The Kazakh led the Dutchman over the top, increasing his lead over Berkenbosch by a point and clinching the climber's jersey.

Polygon then executed part two of their plan, controlling the pack onto the final flat section into Banyuwangi. With a little more than 10 kilometres to the finish, Yakolev again showed off his good form, jumping away the front of the group with Indonesian rider Iman Suparman (Benteng Muda). The two riders built a lead of over 40 seconds, thanks in no small part to Yakolev's teammates, who continued to patrol the peloton and thwart any would-be chasers. At the line, Yakolev comfortably came around Suparman for the stage win. Kam Po Wong took the bunch sprint for the third place, 21-seconds back.

The yellow jersey, Hossein Askari, did not face any serious threats to his lead in the general classification on Tuesday. He saluted the Kazakh's excellent ride at the post-race press conference. "It was a very short stage, and a very hard stage, because of the rivalry for the King of the Mountains," he said. "I think today is Yakolev's day. He's very happy!"

On Wednesday the 2005 Dji Sam Soe Tour d'Indonesia finally arrives on the Island of Bali, for the ninth and final stage of the Tour. The riders will transfer by ferry to Gilimanuk in the morning, and then ride 135 kilometres to Denpasar.

Results

1 Yevgeniy Yakolev (Kaz) Polygon Sweet Nice                  
2 Iman Suparman (Ina) Benteng Muda                              
3 Kam Po Wong (Hkg) Purapharm                               

General classification after stage 8
 
1 Hossein Askari (IRI) Giant Asia Racing Team           30.09.01
2 Paul Griffin (Irl) Giant Asia Racing Team                 0.43
3 Vyacheslav Dyadichkin (Rus) Polygon Sweet Nice            1.11

Mountains classification
1 Yevgeniy Yakolev (Kaz) Polygon Sweet Nice