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.