February 12, 2006 – The 2006 (and 11th) edition of the Telecom-Malaysia Tour of Langkawi ended today in a storm…a rain storm that is. After only 5 of the 18 laps on the 3.2-km circuit were completed, the skies opened up with a deluge of rain on the riders and large crowds that had gathered in Kuala Lumpur. As with many inner-city circuits, the combination of water, smooth asphalt, fuel oil, and paint, caused several major pile-ups and a neutralization of the race.
The racing officials allowed the fallen riders to sort themselves out, before restarting the race a few minutes later. Unfortunately for the riders and the spectators, several lightening strikes nearby caused everyone to respect the laws of nature, taking shelter for reasons of safety.
The 10-day event was marked with an unpredictable nature that started on the roads of stage-1. With 2 riders in the mix from the opening day, the Navigators Insurance squad worked throughout the race to protect Cesar Grajales and Mark Walters. Cesar finished with a credible 4th place in the Overall General Classification while Mark, still adjusting to the tropical heat following a winter in Canada, ended up in 12th. Bernard Van Ulden had a good showing with a 3rd place finish on stage-7, and came close again in stage-9 with a 4th.
With no changes in the classifications due to the cancellation of the final stage, South AfricaÃs David George held onto the top step of the podium following his strong showing in several of the eventÃs most difficult stages.
Up next for the Navigators Insurance squad is the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, slated to begin in San Francisco on February 19th. The opening event on the U.S. domestic calendar has attracted an international field of competitors (UCI 2.1), and gets the North American racing season underway almost one month earlier than in years past.
Stage 10 Results:
1 Angel Vallejo Dominguez (Spa) Relax-Gam*
* Stage cancelled; rider #86 declared stage winner at time of cancellation
1 David George (RSA) South Africa 26.43.55
2 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole 1.52
3 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 1.56
4 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance 2.31
12 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 8.30