GEORGETOWN: Another bunch sprint, and another Italian for the stage win in Le Tour de Langkawi.
The Skydive Dubai rider Andrea Palini managed to overcome a strong challenge from Andrea Guardini (Astana) to win the 158.1km second stage from Sungai Petani to Penang in 3'56:02.
Guardini will keep the leader's yellow jersey for another day after his second place finish. South Africa rider Reinhardt Jense van Rensburg (Dimension Data) finished third.
Five riders broke away after the 22KM mark in search of glory. They were Gong Hyo-suk (KSPO), Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang), Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia), Sofian Nabil Omar Bakri (NSC Myrcron) and Jamalidin Novardianto (Pegasus).
Astana, who are ready to set up another bunch sprint for Guardini, kept a close watch at the head of the peloton despite missing Ruslan Tleubayev who pulled out after a broken collarbone suffered from a crash in Stage One on Wednesday.
After the descent of the second climb at Teluk Bahang (KM128.8) a group of six riders including Lachlan Norris (Drapac) and Johann van Zyl (Dimension Data) attacked the peloton and joined Sea Keong who was alone at the front.
But their effort was short-lived as the peloton chased hard and caught them with 10 kilometres to go.
Results (top 5): 1. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai 3'56:02, 2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana, 3. Reinhardt Jense van Rensburg (Rsa) Dimension Data, 4. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff, 5. John Murphy (US) UnitedHealthcare all same time.
Leading overall standings: 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana 8'11:43, 2. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai 2 seconds behind, 3. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 10.