Iranian Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour beat cycling’s top teams to win Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi. Today in Kuala Terenganu, he closed the last stage with eight seconds over Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka) and 11 seconds on Isaac Bolivar (United Healthcare).
He takes home roughly 65,400 Malaysian Ringgit (£12,000) for the overall victory, finishing as best Asian, six days in the leader’s jersey and one stage win.
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Andrea Guardini (Astana) won the 10th and final stage on the seaside in Kuala Terenganu in western Malaysia. Pourseyedigolakhour, 28, made his mark six days ago 1600 metres above Kuala Lumpur at Genting Highlands.
The Iranian from third division team Tabriz Petrochemical out-climbed his rivals and with mostly flat stages on the menu, locked the overall victory. Making his victory even more impressive, he topped riders from first and second division teams. Tabriz team-mate, Vahid Ghaffari, was the only other third division rider in the top 10 on the summit finish stage.
Followers immediately expressed concern. Pourseyedigolakhour failed an EPO test en route to winning his national tour in 2011. He returned from a two-year ban and in his first UCI-ranked race, won China’s Tour of Qinghai Lake. Again he won ahead of first and second division teams, though this time they placed further back.
Pourseyedigolakhour’s victory reminds some followers of Mustafa Sayar. The local third division rider won the Tour of Turkey last year ahead of top teams and tested positive two months later. Officials stripped the result.
“This is not our problem, this is the UCI’s problem,” Pourseyedigolakhour told Cycling Weekly. “People can speak, say what they want.”
Cycling Weekly spoke to team managers and directors in Malaysia. They said that the UCI should extend its biological passport testing to cover the third division. The random in- and out-of-competition testing builds up data and looks for abnormalities to spot doping, but currently only applies to first and second division teams.
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke won the Tour of Britain and several other 2.1-ranked races as a third division rider in 2012. Team Sky signed him but after he entered the biological passport and the UCI spotted abnormalities.
“The better or top pro teams are held for account in a different way,” said Kevin Campbell, sports director of second division team MTN. “We’d prefer that it’s a level field when it comes to testing and the biological passport. It’s too easy for someone to fly under the radar.”
Iranian Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour took the 'queen' stage of the Tour de Langkawi to Genting Highlands
WorldTour and Professional Continental teams are part of UCI's anti-doping passport scheme, but Continental squads are not