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Celano battles fever for epic win

NTT Pro Cycling’s Max Walscheid won the eighth and final stage of Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) but it was Team Sapura Cycling who emerged the big winners of the tour in Langkawi yesterday.

Walscheid won the 108.5km final stage from Dataran Lang to Kuah in a time of two hours, 29 minutes and eight seconds to emerge the overall winner of the Petronas green jersey.

The German edged Androni Giocattoli-Sidemec’s Luca Pacioni and Taj Jones (Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) in the bunch sprint finish.

National team rider Danieal Haikkal Edy Suhaidee did well to finish fourth.

Sapura’s Danilo Celano put in a valiant effort to finish in the same group as Walscheid to secure his win in the general classification and take home the Petronas yellow jersey.

Celano clocked a final time of 26:39:58s, 26 seconds ahead of Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kazakhstan) who finished second.

Fedorov of Vino-Astana Motors, however, took home the white jersey (Asian classification).

For Celano, the win, his biggest so far, was fulfilling as he was down with fever and needed medical attention after crossing the finish line.

Celano, who is competing in his first season with Sapura, said it was a struggle to close out the title.

“It was not easy as it is a very tough race,” said the 30-year-old Italian.

“It is also a very important race for my Malaysian team (Sapura). I did my best to prepare for this tour and we raced very well as a team here.

“It was not easy for me today (yesterday) because I woke up with a fever this morning.

“Being sick, I thought I would not be able to finish the first lap.

“I just tried my best and managed to do it with the help of my team, including the staff.”

Sapura also won the red jersey (climbers classification) through Nur Aiman Zariff.

Sapura produced two significant firsts in this year’s race.

They are the first Malaysian team to defend the yellow jersey at LTdL.

They won via Benjamin Dyball, who has since joined NTT, last year.

Aiman is also the first Malaysian winner of the LTdL red jersey.

As expected Sapura also came out tops in the team general classification on 80:02:45s.

The Malaysian International Classic, a support race to LTdL, will be held in Langkawi today.

RESULTS (Stage Eight — Dataran Lang - Kuah town, 108.5km)

Stage: 1 Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling 2:29:08s, 2 Luca Pacioni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, 3 Taj Jones (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, 4 Danieal Haikkal Edy Suhaidee (Mas) National Team, 5 Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors - all same time.

General classification (Petronas yellow jersey): 1 Danilo Celano (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling 26:39:58s, 2 Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors +26s, 3 Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Terengganu Cycling Team +35s, 4 Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling +1:07s, 5 Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM +1:09s.

Asian classification (white jersey): 1 Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 26:40:24s, 2 Hideto Nakane (Jap) Nippo Delko Provence +1:08s, 3 Fung Ka Hoo (Team Hong Kong) +3:28s.

Points classification (Petronas green jersey): 1 Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling 65pts, 2 Taj Jones (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 55pts, 3 Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team 44pts.

Climbers classification (red jersey): 1 Nur Aiman Zariff (Mas) Team Sapura Cycling 34pts, 2 Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM 23pts, 3 Samuele Battistella (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling 18pts.

New Straits Times, 15 February 2020

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