Kota Kinabalu, 6 Feb 2020 – True to his pre-race favourite tag, NTT Pro Cycling’s Maximillian Walscheid whetted his appetite for the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 by winning a bunch sprint to take victory in the Resorts World Genting Criterium International in Kota Kinabalu today.
The 26-year old German edged Terengganu Inc-TSG Cycling Team’s Harrif Saleh at the finish line at the Padang Merdeka to take victory in the 90km race held on a 5km circuit around Kota Kinabalu. Australia’s Blake Quick of the St George Continental Cycling Team was third.
The peloton had earlier been split into two groups, which included some of the lanky Walschied’s teammates and only grouped together for the bunch sprint two kilometres from the finish line, which makes the fact that Walscheid had his full lead-pout train gathered and at his disposal between then and the hammer almost unbelievable.
Harrif, who will be Malaysia’s main hope to register victories in the flat stages of LTdL, especially when the race moves to his home state of Terengganu for Stage 3 on Saturday, would have had his confidence boosted by how close he came to victory today.
“I told my team we want to take the win here today and I was confident. But in the final sprint I left it too late to jump as I was following the Bardiani train, but when we arrived at 200m to go I realised they were not going to be in the picture, so I jumped there and managed to close in but not enough for the win,” said Harrif, 31.
The PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 entourage moves to Kuching for the start of the opening stage tomorrow, which sees a stage of the race held in East Malaysia for the first time since 1998.
The 25th edition of LTdL begins in Kuching on February 7, before a transfer across the South China Sea to Kuala Terengganu for the second stage, which will then take the peloton across to the West Coast of the Peninsula. The race ends in Langkawi on February 14.
The 10-day PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 is scheduled from 6 to 15 February 2020, covering a total distance of 1,114.9 km across eight states which include Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and two Federal Territories; Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.