PUTRAJAYA : WorldTour squad Dimension Data became the first team to win Le Tour de Langkawi on three consecutive editions with three different African riders as neo pro Ryan Gibbons, 22, followed the path of Algeria’s Youcef Reguigui and his compatriot Reinardt Janse van Rensburg from South Africa.
He finished fourth of the conclusive stage in Putrajaya won by Travis McCabe who made it two for Unitedhealthcare after he took stage 2 and regained the points competition as well, throughout the intermediate sprints as he won all three of them.
KUALA KUBU BHARU : Race leader Ryan Gibbons of Dimension Data claimed his first pro victory at the end of stage 5 of the 22nd Le Tour de Langkawi in Kuala Kubu Baru where he outsprinted stage 3 winner Jakub Mareczko and stage 2 winner Travis McCabe. The 22 year old South African also increased his lead in the overall ranking from 11 to 23 seconds over Australia’s Cameron Bayly as he also collected two seconds bonus on the way.
“Getting second on stage 1, that was a sense of achievement but today my first pro win is more a relief than anything else and I’m just so happy to finally get a win for the team and also for myself”, Gibbons commented.
“This result will stay for the rest of my career. On a good day on a flat road, I can win a bunch sprint but today with a bit of a drag and the road surface being bricks, it suited me a bit more but moreover my team put me in a perfect position. I would have been hard not to win. I’m really grateful for their help.”
GERIK : American outfit Unitedhealthcare continued its winning streak at Le Tour de Langkawi with Travis McCabe outsprinting Filippo Pozzato and Ryan Gibbons who became the new race leader on the slightly downhill finish in Gerik in the state of Perak in northern Malaysia. They previously won a stage in 2014 with Bradley White and in 2016 with John Murphy.
Exactly like Murphy one year ago, McCabe lined up at LTdL fresh from a stage win at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia. “We came here with the ambition to win”, the American sprinter said at the post-race press conference. “We really wanted to work on the lead out train that we have. I wasn’t trying to fill the shoes of Murphy but it’s great to do the same as him. For me, today, it was all about patience. We showed yesterday that we had the lead out train and the power to take me to the line but I made a mistake by going way too early. Today I went into a small break before the category 1 climb to make it easier when Manzana really hit it on the climb.”
It was a long but eventful day of racing from the East Coast to the jungle via the Titiwangsa Range. It started with a crash involving Pozzato and taking Terengganu’s sprinter Harrif Saleh out of the race as he hit a rock. 49 kilometres were covered in the first hour, making it impossible for anyone to escape from the peloton but a group of 16 riders eventually rode away but the presence of the likes of Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Bernardo Suaza (Manzana-Postobon) and Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness) forced Androni Giocattoli to chase. Attracted by the King of the Mountains competition after losing hopes of winning the overall classification after a crash in stage 1, John Ebsen (Infinite AIS) went on his own 90km before the finish in order to score important points atop Titiwangsa. The selective terrain reduced the bunch to fifty riders only.