Costa Rican youngster Kevin Rivera emerged victorious in the queen stage of Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) yesterday but it was second-placed Danilo Celano who moved into the overall lead at Genting Highlands.
The duo timed their moves to perfection, two kilometres from the finish, to surge past Terengganu Cycling Team’s Artem Ovechkin, who had led for much of the last 10 kilometres,
Rivera, of the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team, won the 156.1km stage from Putrajaya to Genting Highlands in four hours, 18 minutes and 55 seconds. Italian Celano of Team Sapura Cycling crossed the finishing line 10 seconds later.
Heavy fog and slight rain saw temperatures drop in Genting Highlands, making the climb less torturous than it usually is during hot and humid conditions.
Rivera, who had dropped over 10 minutes in the opening stage, was not a threat in the General Classification (GC) going into the fourth stage.
Celano's result, however, saw him taking charge of the Petronas Yellow Jersey from Vino-Astana Motors’ Yevgeniy Fedorov, who finished the stage in fourth place.
Celano, a new signing by Sapura, now leads the GC with a 30 seconds advantage over second placed Fedorov who had led the GC for the first three stages.
Celano, 30, was visibly delighted with the result.
“I knew the climb well as we had trained here before. I let some other riders go (attack) first because I knew it was a long climb and that the last five kilometres would be crucial.”
“I am very happy with this win and I would like to thank the whole team for the work that went into this.
“The goal at the start of the tour was to win the Yellow Jersey and now we will work towards keeping it until the end of the tour.”
There was more good news for Malaysian fans as Celano's Sapura teammate Nur Aiman Zariff strengthened his grip on the Red Jersey (climbers classification) after winning the classified climbs at Ampang Lookout Point, Selayang and Rawang.
The fifth stage today will see riders covering 165.8km from Kuala Kubu Baru to Ipoh.
Stage four: Putrajaya to Genting Highlands, 156.1km
Stage: 1. Kevin Rivera (CR) Androni Giocatelli-Sidermec 4:18:55s, 2. Danilo Celano (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling +10s, 3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Terengganu Cycling Team +43s, 4. Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling +1:17s, 5. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM - same time.
General classification (Petronas Yellow Jersey):
1. Danilo Celano (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling 14:08:28s, 2. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors +30s, 3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Terengganu Cycling Team +35s, 4. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM +1:13s, 5. Pierpaolo Ficara (Ita) Team Sapura Cycling - same time.
Asian classification (white jersey)
1. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 14:08:58s, 2. Hideto Nakane (Jap) Nippo Delko Provence +1:22s, 3. Fung Ka Hoo (Team Hong Kong) +3:24s.
Points classification (Petronas Green Jersey)
1. Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling 34pts, 2. Taj Jones (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 28pts, 3. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 23pts.
Climbers classification (red jersey)
1. Nur Aiman Zariff (Mas) Team Sapura Cycling 30pts, 2. Kevin Rivera (CR) Androni Giocatelli-Sidermec 15pts, 3. Rylee Field (Aus) 14pts.
New Straits Times, 11 February 2020