Published on: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Mehdi, 32, made a last ditch successful breakaway in the final 10 kilometres from a 10-man group before launching a solo attack in the final five kilometres with LBC's Ronald Lomotos barely keeping his second spot as Tabriz's Hossein Nateghi took the third spot right behind the Filipino.
"I was feeling good and my legs felt very good in the final kilometres of the race, so I decided to have a go in the breakaway.
"It was okay for me to go because our team had our sprinter Hossein Nateghi in the bunch waiting to pounce if it came to a bunch sprint," said Mehdi, who spent last season riding with Belgian UCI Pro Team Lotto-Belisol.
"We are not going to wait until the fourth stage, the climb up to Kundasang because in cycling anything can happen.
"There are other strong riders in this race, who could go for the win as well and anything can happen in the race. So it was good for us to take the yellow jersey today."
Mehdi led the general classification by just four seconds ahead of Corbusier's Paul van der Ploeg, the winner of Stage One on Sunday. Australian van der Ploeg also lost his points classification lead to Malaysia's Anuar Manan by just a point.
Anuar said he went out in the breakaway to take the points in the three intermediate sprints Monday to put himself into contention for the points classification, but will now focus on getting his first win in the UCI Asia Tour since December 2011.
"I am just returning after a long lay-off due to a back injury, so I was planning to enter this race to train and recover my form.
"But now, I think I'll try to push as well. Since I have a chance I want to go for the points classification win, but there are big points at the finish line as well," said Anuar.
Stage Three of the Tour of Borneo 2013 Tuesday will be from Penampang to Kota Kinabalu, covering a route of 132.6km.