Sunday, February 26, 2017
Ryan Gibbons, the breakthrough - Le Tour De Langkawi 2017
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.