TAMPIN: Marcus Culey rode solo across the finish line to register Team Sapura Cycling’s first ever stage win in the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi in the 176.9km Stage 1 from Kuala Lumpur to Tampin today.
The 25-year old Australian formed part of a four-man breakaway just 20km into the stage, along with Brendon Davids and Angus Lyons of Oliver’s Real Food Racing and KSPO-Bianchi’s Kwon Soon Yeong, which came after a sprinkling of early attacks from various riders.
The quartet stayed in front through the four classified climbs for the day, which resulted in Lyons taking the polka dot jersey with 26 points, ahead of Culey with 18.
After opening up maximum gap of 9 minutes, the breakway quartet began to disintegrate with 25km to go, when first Lyons and then Kwon dropped back, leaving Culey and Davids up front as the peloton began to claw back.
With about 7km to go, with Davids showing signs of fatigue, Culey launched an attack which the South African could not react to.
Culey was up front alone and with the peloton closing in fast, victory seemed uncertain until he entered the final kilometre with the gap around 49 seconds.
He executed a final push that saw him cross the finish line with the bunch sprint for second spot win by Floyd’s Pro Cycling’s Travis McCabe, ahead of Protouch’s South African rider Clint Hendricks.
Culey also bagged the yellow jersey as the overal leader and the green jersey as the points classification leader with 21 points, ahead of Davids with 15 and McCabe with 14.
Vino-Astana Motors’ Grigory Shtein of Kazakhstan leads the Asian riders’ classification after finishing 10th on the day, level on time with Japan’s Shoi Matsuda.
Best Malaysian rider Mohd Zawawi Azman of Sapura is third in the Asian riders’ standings.
Sapura also lead the teams classification, five seconds ahead of Gazprom-Rusvelo and eight seconds clear of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast in third.
“It’s an amazing win. We didn’t set an early target because the team’s focus was for Benjamin Dyball in the GC. But I took my chance well today,” said Culey, who is also making his debut in LTdL.
“We knew the peloton was chasing after the final KOM in Bukit Putus and I wasn’t that confident, but we kept pushing and the chance came and I took it. This is an important win for Sapura, as it is a Malaysian team winning a stage in LTdL.”
With the king of the mountains polka dot jersey in the bag, Lyons settled back into the peloton with teammate Davids left to battle Culey and now plans to keep at least that jersey until the end.
If today’s stage was tough, then there will be no respite for the peloton as the Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi 2019 continues with Stage Two covering 200.6km from Senawang to Melaka tomorrow, which is the longest stage for this year’s race.
All said, starting off with an intense opening ride from Kuala Lumpur right up to the final round island battle in Langkawi, fans and cycling enthusiasts are in for some great cycling action throughout the 1225.8km journey which takes riders across nine states in the Peninsula.
Malaysian and European fans will be able to catch the action via a 90-minute live broadcast of the race and a 30-minute daily highlights throughout the eight-day event. Overall, LTdL is looking at a coverage of over 100 counties with 310 million viewers on television and 70 million viewers through Cycling.TV.
To enhance fan experience and to encourage the community to come out and support this event, accompanying activities will be held at the finishing location of each stage throughout the race.
- Results after Stage 1
- General Classification (GC) Leader: Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling)
- Sprint Leader: Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling)
- Best Climber (KOM): Angus Lyons (Oliver’s Real Food Racing)
- Best Team: Team Sapura Cycling
- Best Asian Rider: Grigory Shtein (Vino-Astana Motors)
- Best Malaysian Rider: Mohd Zawawi Azman (Team Sapura Cycling)
- Best Asian Team: Vino-Astana Motors (Kazakhstan)
ABOUT LE TOUR de LANGKAWI
Le Tour de Langkawi is a multiple stage bicycle race held in Malaysia conceived by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, with the objective of putting Malaysia on the world sporting and tourism map. Held since the 1996, the race usually begins in Langkawi and includes major landmarks such as Genting Highlands and Dataran Merdeka.
The race is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race as part of the UCI Asia Tour calendar, and is the biggest cycle race in Asia. Because of the reputation it holds, the race regularly attracts top teams from the World Tour as well as other continental and national teams from Europe and Asia. This year’s race will take place from the 6th of April to the 13th of April.
For further information, please visit www.ltdlangkawi.my