Davids wins Jelajah Malaysia, Thomas best young rider

The jersey winners in Alor Setar. Photo: Jelajah Malaysia Official

Oliver’s Real Food Racing has notched up another historic milestone in season 2017, with South African Brendon Davids claiming a stage win, plus the overall win at the Jelajah Malaysia, a 2.2 ranked pro race sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Davids’ Oliver’s teammate Ryan Thomas also enjoyed success. The young Queenslander finished in 3rd place on stage 1 and 7th place overall, spending 1 day in the race lead while also claiming the best young rider jersey overall.

Davids claimed the race lead in an impressive display of strength reminiscent of his performance on the corresponding stage of Battle Recharge just 1 week earlier. Davids rode the final 60kms of the stage solo to take an emphatic win with a margin of 2 minutes and 16 seconds over a disorganised chase group that included Thomas who was in the race lead thanks to a breakaway on stage 2.

After Davids’ performance on stage 3 it left Oliver’s Racing first and second in the overall classification, Davids at the top with a one minute advantage over teammate Thomas in second. With the 101.3kmstage 4 finishing on the 10km HC categorised Gunung Jerai, Davids’ main threat would be Colombian climber Victor Nino of Malaysian team Sapura Cycling. Davids started the day with a 2 minute 37 second advantage over the climbing specialist.

After a fast start a breakaway that wasn’t dangerous to Davids’ race lead was let go by the Oliver’s team. The 5 man break was allowed a 7 minute advantage by the time the peloton hit the final climb. With all 4 of Davids’ Oliver’s Racing teammates setting the tempo for the whole stage, it was not long into the climb that Nino made his move, attacking with teammate and fellow Colombian Jahir Perez from the base of the climb. Davids quickly assumed the responsibility of setting the tempo for the select group of remaining riders, trying to limit his losses to the duo. With 3kms to go Perez went solo from Nino to claim the stage win. Nino however only managed to pull 2 minutes and 9 seconds out on Davids. Failing to claim the final 24 seconds of his race lead. Thomas put in a solid performance to retain the lead in the best young rider jersey by just under a minute.

It was then onto a flat 132.6km fifth and final stage starting and finishing in the Northern city of Alor Setar. Davids’ race lead was never threatened as his Oliver’s teammates controlled the pace of the peloton. The race finished with 3 circuits of the city and a bunch sprint won by Mohd Hariff Saleh of Team TSG. Jack Sutton sprinted to 9th place on the stage for Oliver’s.

The victory caps off a dream start for Davids with Oliver’s Real Food Racing. The title was also the first UCI ranked race win for the 23 year old from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He plans to now return to Australia for the final 3 rounds of the National Road Series.


Brendon Davids: “Obviously, I am very happy. This is the first time I’ve had a leadership role in the team as usually I am the backup for our main GC rider. To actually pull it off is a big deal for myself. It has been an incredible week, I could not have asked for more. We won a stage, took charge of young rider and defended the race lead for 3 stages. I couldn’t have been happier to give Oliver’s their first UCI win. Hopefully it has a bit of a snowball effect for the team and myself.”

Ryan Thomas: “It has been an amazing team effort. It’s not just down to Brendon and I, it’s been a lot of hard work for our teammates on the front every day, and it’s also reward for our team manager Sam Layzell, who puts in a lot of work behind the scenes. Personally I’m very happy with winning the young rider jersey, especially after the climb on stage 4, and for Brendon to also claim yellow, it’s amazing!”

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