Alor Setar – Matteo Pelucchi bagged a second consecutive bunch sprint victory, powering ahead of the pack to win the short 130.8km stage from Bagan to Alor Setar today.
Italian Pelucchi of the Androni Gioccatoli-Sidermec team edged out Terengganu Inc TSG pair of Youcef Reguigui and Stage 2 winner Harrif Saleh at the finish, after an early threat of a 17-man breakaway that dominated the stage was neutralized three kilometers from the finish.
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 in the mountains classification lead.
Points classification leader Travis McCabe of Floyd’s Racing finished fifth and saw hos comfortable lead in the green jersey also unaffected. After going four years without a victory in LTdL, Italian outfit Androni saw Pelucchi add to the team’s illustrious history in the race and extended their reign as the most successful team in the race.
“I am happy with back-to-back victories, especially after the team went four years without a single win in this race,” said Pelucchi. “The team worked very well today. There was a very fast pace and the team’s strategy today was to be in the breakaway group, which we did with Marco Benfatto. “After the breakaway was caught, then 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.”
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 attack after attack. 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 race entourage today moved to the island of Langkawi for the final two stages of the race, beginning with a 106.8km round-island Stage 7 that starts and ends in Pantai Chenang tomorrow.