ALOR SETAR: Matteo Pelucchi proved his mettle as a sprinter by powering to a second consecutive stage win – the short 130.8km Stage Six – from Bagan to Alor Setar.
After winning Stage Five from Tanjung Malim to Taiping on Wednesday, Pelucchi, the 30-year-old Italian from team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, was again in stunning form in yesterday’s stage which featured three sprint zones – Sungai Petani, Gurun and Pendang.
He edged out Terengganu Inc-TSG’s pair of Youcef Reguigui and Stage 2 winner Harrif Saleh in a bunch finish to win in two hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds.
The bunched finish meant Team Sapura Cycling’s Benjamin Dyball retained the general classification lead while Vino Astana’s Vadim Pronskiy was also unaffected in the Asian riders’ classification lead, as was Oliver’s Real Food Racing’s Angus Lyons who retained the lead in the mountain classification category.
Points classification leader Travis McCabe of Floyd’s Racing finished fifth and but his comfortable lead in the green jersey category was also unaffected.
This is Pelucchi’s fourth LTdL podium success, having finished second in Stage Three (Muar to Putrajaya) on Monday and Stage Nine of the 2012 LTdL.
“I am happy with the back-to-back victories. The team worked very well today. It was a very fast paced race and the team’s strategy today was to be in the breakaway group, which we did with Marco Benfatto.
“After the breakaway group was caught, it was my turn to move to the front and we worked well to get into position and go for the sprint. I am more confident now and we will go for another win in the coming stages,” said Pelucchi.
Yellow jersey holder Dyball survived another day as he inched closer to the overall title and was relieved after yet another tough day managing the front of the peloton to keep another big breakaway in check.
“It was another difficult day in yellow, with attacks after attacks. The pace was very fast and when there was a leading group of 17 riders, Gazprom and our team worked hard to chase,” said Australian Dyball, 29.
“Two days after Genting, the race is not over yet and we can expect the same in the final two stages in Langkawi. It should be an exciting finale.”
The racemoves to the island of Langkawi today for the final two stages of the race, beginning with a 106.8km round-island Stage 7 that starts and ends at Pantai Cenang.