Jesse Ewart only finished third, 1:10 behind the stage eight winner of the Tour de Singkarak today. But, the Team Sapura Cycling ace is just one stage away from retaining the title he won last year.
Ewart, who has not relinquished the yellow jersey from stage one, has in fact increased his lead in the overall standings.
The 212.9km stage from Sungai Penuh to Pesisir Selatan was won by Indonesian Jamalidin Novardianto of the PGN Road Cycling Team, ahead of Roadbike Philippines’ Rustom Lim. Both riders were clocked at 5:04:46.
With his third place finish, Ewart has increased his lead from 1:04 to 1:43 over his teammate Christian Raileanu. Only a major disaster would stop the Australian rider from taking the overall title.
Iranian Mirsamad Pourseyedi of the Omidnia Mashhad Team is a distant third, 4:03 behind Ewart in the overall standings.
Ewart, who hails from Australia, is also all set to take the Best Sprinter title as well. He is heading the standings with a massive 76 points, well ahead of Jamalidin, who is in second spot with 51 points.
The Indonesian rider is just four points ahead of Raileanu while Rustom is a further three points behind in the standings.
It will be an interesting battle for the Best Climber category with the top two riders separated by just two points. Filipino Grospe Ismael Jr of the Team Go for Gold is hanging on with the red polka dot jersey with 71 points. He is just two points ahead of another Filipino rider, Felipe Marcelo of the Roadbike Philippines. Indonesian Muhammad Aburrahman of the KFC Cycling team is in third spot with 63 points.
Team Sapura Cycling look almost certain of winning the overall title. The Malaysian outfit are 3:57 ahead of their closest rivals PGN Road Cycling with Team Go for Gold 8:50 behind in the overall team standings.
The final stage of the Tour de Singkarak will be a 107.7km stage from Painan to Padang.