TAIPING: Italian cyclist Matteo Pelucchi won a bunch sprint to end Androni Giocattoli’s winless streak of four editions in Stage Five of the Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi covering 200.1km from Tanjung Malim to Taiping.
Androni are the most successful general classification team in the race’s history with seven overall victories but have gone through a barren spell since Dutch sprinter Kenny van Hummel won a stage in the 2014 edition.
Pelucchi’s win yesterday thus sent a familiar jersey onto the podium.
It was the biggest breakaway thus far in the race with 17 riders making up a group that opened up a maximum gap of three minutes and 25 seconds.
In the final bunch sprint, it was Pelucchi who edged St George Continental’s Blake Quick of Australia to victory with Stage 3 winner Travis McCabe taking third ahead of Stage 2 winner Terengganu Inc.-TSG’s Harrif Saleh.
McCabe retained the green jersey as the points classification leader with 58 points as Harrif moved up to second with 42 points.
“The pace today was very fast, especially in the first hour,” said Pelucchi.
“Our team worked hard, especially in the final three kilometres to catch the front rider and coming into the last corner, I was at the front and got a clear sprint in a straight line.
“I like this type of sprint, which is not very technical.
“It was a straightforward bunch sprint.
“It was a big goal for the team to win a stage and they trusted me to do the job.
Now we will hunt for another stage win,” he added.
Team Sapura Cycling managed the race well, keeping the front of the peloton in check to ensure their Australian cyclist Benjamin Dyball retain the yellow jersey with a 27-second lead.
“Although there was an early attack, there was no panic. The race was very active in the first hour, with high speed but the peloton always kept the time gaps in check,” said Dyball.
“I just played it safe when it came to a bunch sprint.
“With a shorter stage after this, it should be easier to keep the jersey.”
The bunch sprint also meant Vino Astana’s Vadim Pronskiy of Kazakhstan retained his Asian riders’ classification lead.
The race continues with the 130.8km Stage 6 from Bagan to Alor Setar today.
Stage 5 (200.1km from Tanjung Malim to Taiping): 1. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 4’27:11,2. Blake Quick (Aus) St George Continental Cycling
Team, 3. Travis Mccabe (US) Floyd’s Pro Cycling, 4. Mohd harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu TSG Cycling Team, 5. Michael Bresciani (Ita) Bardiani CSF all same time.
(Note: race commissioner give the same time of 4’27:11 after the riders finished in a bunch)
General Classification (Yellow Jersey): 1. Benjamin Dyball (Aus) Team Sapura Cycling 21’52:53, 2. Hernan Ricardo Aguirre Caipa (Col) Interpro Cycling academy 21’53:20, 3. Keegan Swirbul (uS) Floyd’s Pro Cycling 21’53:43.
Best Malaysian Riders: 1. Muhd Zawawi Azman (Team Sapura Cycling) 21’58:41, 2. Nik Mohd Azwan Zulkifle (Malaysian National Team) 22’01:00, 3. Muhd Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff (Team Sapura Cycling) 22’03:17.
Green Jersey (King of Sprint): 1. Travis McCabe (US) Floyd’s Pro Cycling 58 points, 2. Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu TSG Cycling Team 42, 3. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF 33.
Red Jersey (King of Mountain): 1. Angus Lyons (Sus) Oliver’s real Good racing 47, 2. Benjamin Dyball (aus) Team Sapura Cycling 25, 3. Ricardo Aguirre Caipa (Col) Interpro Cycling Academy 24.
White Jersey (Best Asian Rider): 1. Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 21’53:58, 2. Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) Japanese National Team 21’54:22, 3. Stepan Astafyev
(Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 21’57:31.