BALING: Astana rider Andrea Guardini takes his 19th stage win in Le Tour de Langkawi with a victory in the opening 166.5km Kangar-Baling stage on Wednesday.
Guardini triumphed in 4'25"57. Australian Brenton Jones (Drapac) and Italian Andrea Palini (Skydive Dubai) round up the podium in second and third respectively. All were credited with the same time.
With the win, he will take the yellow jersey into Thursday's second stage as the race leader.
The race was quick into action as Adiq Hussainie Othman (Terengganu Cycling), Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia) and Meher Hasanaoui (Skydive Dubai) broke free right from the gun.
Minutes later, Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang Cycling) joined the trio as they increase their lead to four minutes at the 22KM mark.
The peloton, headed by Southeast and Astana, kept the quartet on a tight leash as the gap never hovered above 10 minutes.
Sea Keong managed to pry himself away from his breakaway companions with 20 kilometres to go but the peloton never let him go as they reeled him in with just seven kilometres remaining.
Stage Two, from Sungai Petani to George Town, will cover a distance of 158.1km and involves three sprint zones – at Sungai Karangan, Padang Serai and Kulim – and two climb zones in Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang.
STAGE ONE RESULTS
(166.6km from Kangar to Baling)
Top 10: 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 4’15:57, 2. Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling, 3. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team AAC, 4. John Murphy (US) UnitedHealthCare Professional Cycling Team, 5. Dylan Page (Swi) Team Roth, 6. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff, 7. Reinardt J V Rensburg (Rsa) Dimension Data, 8. Shimpei Fukuda (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team, 9. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, 10. Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) all same time.
Overall leader: 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 4’15:47, 2. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team 4’15:49, 3. Muhamad Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) TSG 4’15:50.
Blue Jersey (King of Sprint): 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 15pts, 2. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team 13, 3. Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 12.
Red Jersey (King of Mountain): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team 14pts, 2. Loh Sea Keong (Mas) National Team 8, 3. Meher Hasnaoui (Tun) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team AAC 3.
White Jersey (Best Asian Rider): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling Team 4’15:49, 2. Muhamad Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) TSG 4’15:50, 3. Shimpei Fukuda (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team 4’15:57.