IRAN'S Tabriz Petrochemical Team picked up right where they left off last season when they opened the 2009-2010 UCI Asia Tour season in style.
The 2008-2009 UCI Asia Tour champion team dominated the first two races of the season, with 28-year old Mehdi Sohrabi taking overall victory after six stages of the Tour of Milad du Nour and his 35-year old veteran teammate Ahad Kazemi Sarai winning the Tour of Azerbaijan. Both races were on the team's home soil in Iran.
The continent's biggest one-day race, the Japan Cup on October 25 which featured some of the top teams on the pro peloton, saw Saxo Bank's Danish rider Chris Sorensen ride solo to victory after dropping a breakaway pack of four other riders, which were left to race for second. Caisse d'Epargne's Daniel Moreno outsprinted Liquigas rider Ivan Santaromita and Fuji-Servetto's Juan Jose Cobo for second spot.
Sohrabi's victory in the Tour of Milad du Nour held from October 6 to 10, the new season's first race, was an emphatic one as he was clearly the rider on form at that moment, also claiming the points classification win and only losing out by two points to Amir Zargari in the race for the mountains classification. Sohrabi's one minute and 42 seconds advantage at the end of the last stage of the race in Khomeyn, was thanks to two splendid victories on the second and fourth stages.
Kazemi Sarai took charge of the leader's jersey in the Tour of Azerbaijan a week later was just as dominant, as he seized the leader's jersey on the second day. He lost the lead to Sohrabi on the fourth stage, but took the jersey back the following day and never looked back.
Islamic Azad University rider Amir Zargari won the mountains classification in the race, while Sohrabi was surprised by 22-year old compatriot Behnam Khalilikhosroshahi in the race for the points classification.
November is a busier month with five races for the UCI Asia Tour peloton, beginning with the two-day Tour de Okinawa in Japan on November 7 and 8, and on the day that races ends the inaugural Tour de Seoul on-day event takes place in the South Korean capital city.
The much awaited newly upgraded Tour de Hainan runs on the picturesque South China Sea island from November 11 to 19. This is the latest Asian race to earn Hors class status after Le Tour de Langkawi and Tour of Qinghai Lake. Another one-day event takes place in Japan, the inaugural Kumamoto International Road Race on November 15.
The month then ends with the Tour of Indonesia, which starts on November 22 and ends on December 4.