Kanpanzan, Taiwan - Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Chun Kai Feng took the lead in the king of the mountains classification after featuring in the breakaway on Friday's Stage 5 of the Tour de Taiwan while teammate Adiq Othman notched another top five finish.
Feng, winner of last year's king of the mountains competition, spent the three previous stages in the break, fighting for points. The Taiwan native began the day four points behind the previous KOM jersey wearer, Chen Lu Qin (Max Success Sports Cycling Team).
The race started with a flurry of attacks. When Dennis Van Niekerk (MTN Qhubeka) escaped, Feng and Champion System teammate Zach Bell followed and the trio gained a lead of more than two minutes on the peloton. Through the intermediate sprint, Bell and Feng went 1-2. Over the first categorized climb, Feng took top honors, moving him into the KOM lead.
Bell, winner of Thursday's stage, was first to drop from the breakaway. The intensity of the day caught up with Feng and Van Niekerk heading up the final climb when the peloton finally reeled them in. Tsgabu Grmay (MTN-Qhubeka) soloed on the uphill finish to earn his first professional win while Othman, fourth on Stage 3, finished fifth, 10 seconds behind. He remains Champion System's best-placed rider in 11th, 53 seconds behind overall race leader Bernard Sulzberger (DRAPAC Cycling).
Champion System Assistant Director Chris Wherry said it is obvious that Feng is motivated to perform well in his home tour.
"Kai (Feng) has been riding like a man possessed," Wherry said. "He fought like a true champion all day. It was a shame that he couldn't stay away to the finish."
Feng, who is new to the Champion System team, said the stage was about more than just earning the jersey; riding in the three-man breakaway with a teammate was a chance to build camaraderie.
"One of the favorite parts of today was Zach (Bell) telling me to take it easy, as he did a ton of work for me," Feng said. "It made me very happy."
Tomorrow's penultimate stage runs from New Taipei City to Linshanbi Recreational Area and features two categorized climbs. Wherry anticipates it being another big day for Feng.
"I don't know what he has in store for tomorrow," Wherry said. "He just keeps going."