Champion System Pro Cycling Team’s Adiq Othman finished third Saturday on Stage 6 of the Tour de Taiwan while teammate Chun Kai Feng kept his lead in the king of the mountains classification with a day to go.
The 126-kilometer stage from New Taipei City to Linshanbi Recreational Area saw a break of three before the first categorized climb. On the descent, a large chase group featuring Othman and Feng formed and caught the early escapees prior to the summit of the second categorized climb. Feng, who began the day in the KOM jersey, struggled before the summit. But Othman attacked a kilometer from the top to take first place points and protect Feng’s lead. With no categorized climbs remaining in the race, the move secured Feng’s hold on the jersey.
“Kai was with me on the climb so I just wanted to do anything I could to help him win the KOM,” Othman said. “When he struggled a bit at the top, I just thought quickly that I would take the points from anyone else.”
The summit sprint fractured the breakaway and a group of only 12 remained out front. What was left of the peloton chased hard and the race came together 20 km from the finish. Only Othman and Feng remained in the main field for Champion System as they headed for a sprint finish. Othman was only beaten to the line by stage winner Benjamin Giraud (Team La Pomme Marsielle) and runner-up Grischa Janorschke (NUTRIXXION ABUS).
Champion System Assistant Director Chris Wherry said he was amazed by the versatility Othman had in defending the jersey and still having the legs for the finish.
“I was really impressed with Adiq as he read the final well,” Wherry said. “He ended up third on the stage after assuring that the team would keep the KOM jersey overall. I’m happy to see him mixing it up.”
“I was a little tired in the finish from the work on the mountain, but I was happy with third on the stage,” Othman said.
Bernard Sulzberger (DRAPAC Cycling) held onto the leader’s jersey for the third consecutive day. Othman remains Champion System’s best-placed rider in 11th, 49 seconds behind.
Despite being a short, 58 km race through the streets of Taipei, Sunday’s stage does offer Othman a chance to make up time on the general classification, Wherry said.
“There is a slight opportunity for him to move up tomorrow with some bonuses on the line,” Wherry said.