Mar 1, 2017

Travis McCabe makes it two, Ryan Gibbons makes history

Travis McCabe takes the final stage at Putrajaya.

Team Dimension Data celebrates at the finish

Top 3 for today's stage

Loh Sea Keong takes the award for the most combative rider  in Stage 8

Best Malaysia Category

Best Overall team is IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness

Best Asian Team goes to Vino Astana Motors

Asian Classification - top 3 - won by Hideto Nakane
KOM Classification - top 3 - won by John Ebsen

Points Classification- top 3 - won by Ryan Gibbons

Overall Classification - top 3 - won by Ryan Gibbons

Here's the 22nd edition of LTdL 2017 jersey winners.

PUTRAJAYA, 1 March 2017 : 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.
“We wanted to race hard again today”, McCabe declared. “Typically when the race is hard and there are a few climbs, we can get rid of some heavy sprinters. The sprint came down to the last corner and I had Greg Henderson putting me in perfect position and I jumped at about 300 metres to go. Coming from doing the same job in the WorldTour, he makes my life so much easier! Pretty much all I have to do is to put my hands up. All the guys allowed me to get this win. We had a double goal as we really wanted [Daniel] Jaramillo to take the time bonuses to jump on the podium. He’s got a good kick. So I was not looking at the sprint jersey, I was more looking at the stage win.”
“This was my first time here. I’ll remember the beautiful landscapes of Malaysia. The people were fantastic. That was awesome to see so many people out there cheering us on. I couldn’t ask for a better race to start off the season. I’m really happy that I came and we’ll be back next year.”
“Before coming to Malaysia, I didn’t think I’d be sitting here with the yellow jersey at the end”, said Gibbons who learned “jesi kuning” in bahasa Malaysia during his six days in the lead of LTdL. “The team had a lot of faith in me but to have responsibility to lead in the second race of my first year as a pro, but I couldn’t have imagined the dream coming true this week. It’s been stressful, even having the yellow jersey, being on good form and believing in myself.”
“On the second climb, IsoWhey attacked. But I had Jacques [Janse van Rensburg], our road captain, with me the whole time. He told me to relax and not too worry although I could have gone harder for the intermediate sprints. A group of sixteen riders got fifteen seconds ahead of us in the main climb but we caught them very quickly. After that I knew we should have the jersey for good but this is cycling, anything can happen, a crash or a mechanical. Even going into the last sprint, I touched wheel with my team-mates in a corner.”
“It was a goal to win the last stage as well. I’m disappointed not to have made it but in the last curve I was maybe where I shouldn’t. I was following Pippo [Pozzato] and [Alberto] Cecchin. When I came out, it was way too late. There were five riders up the road. I was able to catch two of them but I was glad to stay up and win yellow and teal.”
Gibbons was the second South African to win the points competition after his mentor Robert Hunter fifteen years ago. “He was the first South African to win a stage in all three Grand Tours”, he continued.
“He’s definitely a role model. I see myself as a very similar rider to him. He was a sprinter but also someone who could go well in small climbs and do all right in time trial. He’s the one who put cycling on the map in South Africa. I do look up to him. He inspired many South Africans.”
“It’s really special to follow his footsteps, also here in Malaysia. If I do half of what he achieved, it would be a successful career for me. He’s been talking to me every day during Le Tour de Langkawi. He has a lot of faith in me as well. Since 2004, he’s believed that I can do a lot. He’s been motivating me this week, which is great. From day 3, he believed I could win the Tour. His support really helped.”
“I’m really ambitious and I’m very hungry”, Gibbons concluded. “I’d be a liar if I’d say I don’t want to win more. It’s been a perfect start. I have to keep on learning. I don’t want to set myself goals that I can’t achieve. Hopefully this is just the beginning. It was my first time in this position. “

“I’ve learned that with winning come the press, the media, the fans… I had never experienced a team work like that. I also learned a lot about sprinting. I’ve only won a stage, I’ve been second, third, fourth and fifth. I don’t look at those as seven losses. I look at them as seven learning experiences. I know what not to do now. I’m grateful for the lesson I can take from my Malaysian experience. It was my first time here. I’ve not enjoyed just the winning but the support from the people, the different cultures, the different foods, the weather that is similar to some parts of South Africa on the coast so I can handle it. It’s been so welcoming, I’d like to come back.”

Feb 28, 2017

Jakub Mareczko makes it two in Rembau

An emotional finish for Jakub, his second time winning in Rembau

TEAL jersey goes to Jakub Mareczko

REMBAU, 28 February 2017 : Tipped as the hot favourites for the bunch sprint finishes this year, Italy’s Jakub Mareczko of Wilier Triestina became the first rider to win two stages at this year’s Le Tour de Langkawi as claimed stage 6 to Rembau after he opened his season’s account in Pantai Remis on day 3.
He’s unbeaten in Rembau where he took his first ever Malaysian success one year ago and therefore announced himself for filling the shoes of Andrea Guardini who holds the record of stage victories with 22. Also a diminutive sprinter, Mareczko moved into the lead of the points competition while Ryan Gibbons, fifth on the line, retained the yellow jersey.
“I put my team at the front in the final kilometers with [Filippo] Pozzato, [Alberto] Cecchin and [Rafael] Andriato to lead me out”, Mareczko explained. “There was a curve with 400 metres to go.
Cecchin took it in first position. After Andriato’s last pull, I opened my sprint. It feels very good to get a second stage win. I’m very happy today. After winning a stage, my goal this year was to get the points jersey. Now I have it and I hope to defend it tomorrow by trying to get another first place. I’m hoping for a sunny day to conclude Le Tour de Langkawi after the pouring rain we’ve had today.”
“My priority was to retain the yellow jersey”, echoed Gibbons. “It was nice to have the teal as well but Mareczko is a top quality rider. He’s fast! I’m not too disappointed. I’m happy for him but I hope I’ll get it back tomorrow. I was feeling very good today, also under the rain. I was cautious on the wet. It was easy to go down. Just stay upright and out of trouble, that was my concern. Tomorrow’s stage is short.
It’s going to be very aggressive. But we’re ready for it. I’m so thankful for the help I got from my team-mates. There’s one more day. I’m strongly hoping that I’ll be in yellow in Putrajaya as well.”
Veteran WorldTour rider Greg Henderson of Unitedhealthcare was awarded the combativity prize of the day after being the driving force behind the main breakaway of the day with Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina), Huang En (Keyi Look), Dominic Perez (7/11) and escape artist Loh Sea Keong (Thailand Continental Team).

The conclusive stage of the 22nd Le Tour de Langkawi will be 121km long from Setiawangsa (Kuala Lumpur) to Putrajaya.

Feb 27, 2017

Enrico Barbin breaks the ice for Bardiani CSF

Team's seem to like the rain as it's cooling

Enrico Barbin takes the stage in Muar

The team celebrates

Anthony Giacoppo in 2nd and Filippo Pozzato in 3rd place

The leaders after stage 6

MUAR, 27 Feb 2017 : Just like Mekseb Debesay and Ryan Gibbons in the two previous stages, Italy’s Enrico Barbin opened his professional account at the 2017 Le Tour de Langkawi as he claimed his first victory at the age of 26 in Muar. He outsprinted Australia’s Anthony Giacoppo of IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness and his compatriot Filippo Pozzato from Wilier Triestina to deliver Bardiani CSF’s first win of the year and their first stage victory at LTdL since Marco Canola won solo in Kuantan in 2012.
The Italian squad managed by the Reverberis, father and son, is the oldest participant to LTdL, having made their first appearance as Scrigno in 1998 with five stage wins that year including the first ever as a pro for Alessandro Petacchi. Their organization is also the most successful in terms of stage victories in the history of the Malaysian premier stage race as Barbin bagged their 35th while Gianni Savio’s team now called Androni is second on the tally with 24, followed by the currently named Wilier Triestina outfit with 16.
“It’s an honour for me to become part of this history”, Barbin declared. “I was feeling well and my whole team too [his team-mate Lorenzo Rota was up the road for most of the stage along with Colombia’s Wilmar Paredes and Hong Kong’s Ronald Yeung who was awarded the daily prize of most combative rider]. I’m not fast enough to beat the fastest sprinters here but I took advantage of them. Through the radio, we had perfect explanation of the finale and where the wind was blowing from so it was a question of getting the best position over the bridge and anticipate the sprint with 300 metres to go.”
“We were working for [stage 3 winner Jakub] Mareczko”, Pozzato explained. “But Unitedhealthcare attacked in the wind after the bridge. Kuba followed them but it was a bit far away from the line. Barbin has been smart accelerating from behind. I went after him but I got blocked for a little while and when I resumed my sprint with no speed it was too difficult and too late.”
As much as Pozzato replaced Mareczko due to sprinting circumstances, Giacoppo found himself as a substitute for Scott Sunderland. “We were going for Scott”, the Western Australian said, “but he got caught out of position in the last corner so I went myself. When we caught Mareczko, I hesitated a bit. Maybe I should have kept going.”
“Safety first was at the back of my mind but I definitely wanted to be in the sprint”, commented Gibbons who retained the yellow jersey.
“Going over the bridge when we turned right, we were behind Unitedhealthcare but we lost the wheels and four of their riders and Mareczko got away. I spent all my energy trying to close the gap because I didn’t want to lose any time on the UHC rider who is high on GC [Daniel Jaramillo]. I brought the peloton with me but when the proper sprint started I already made my effort so I just focused on not crashing.”
“Today was the first day in the Tour that I wasn’t at 100%. Normally I feel good racing in the rain but I only found my legs in the third hour. Maybe the rain was a little factor. There was no real stress though. I see two more sprint opportunities. It would be really good to bring the yellow jersey home.” He concluded.

Stage 7 from the historical city of Melaka to Rembau will be 148km long with three climbs in the finale.

Feb 26, 2017

Ryan Gibbons, the breakthrough

Ryan's first professional win, happened in Kuala Kubu Bharu

Loads of hugs are in order

The podium for Stage 5

Ryan also took the Teal Jersey from Travis McCabe

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.”
“I wasn’t targeting the intermediate sprints”, the race leader continued. “It was more riding defensively. Every time with 1km to the sprint we so IsoWhey moving up. They had the teal jersey with Sunderland but Bayly was also up there so I had just had to make sure I’d finish in front of him. I’ve managed to pick up four points and two seconds. It was mainly watching the guys on GC, not worrying too much and not attacking them. The teal jersey is a great award but my focus for now is the yellow jersey. If it happens that I can win it as well, I’ll be grateful though.”
The whole stage was marked by one breakaway only. After fifty kilometers covered at a very high speed, Italy’s Fausto Masnada rode away, got a maximum advantage of 3.50 and sat up after the last intermediate sprint with just over 20km to go as the bunch was certainly going to reel him in.
“We wanted to ride offensively today since yesterday it didn’t go that well for us”, the Androni Giocattoli rider said the day his team manager Gianni Savio attended Le Tour de Langkawi. “We expected something more [the yellow jersey with Egan Bernal]. We started today with the idea to break away. After 50km, seeing that big groups weren’t going anywhere, I tried by himself, hoping that I’d get some help but nobody followed so I continued on my own. I never got bored. I’m happy I did it. I also came here looking for a good shape ahead of the races in Italy, so it’s been a good day.”
Stage 6 from Senawang to Muar will be 176.3km long with three climbs to start with in the first 45km