photo credit @ Orica GreenEdge
Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) not only claimed stage 3 of this year’s Tour de Langkawi today, but in doing so, succeeded in wresting the leader’s jersey from Andrea Guardini as well.
Ewan used his climbing skills during the first of today’s two categorized climbs, to distance himself from Guardini, who thus far had bested the young Australian rider on the previous two stages.
As result, Ewan now captured both overall race lead, as well as the points classifications from Guardini, who finished 24 minutes down today.
“After two seconds [places] it’s a bit of a relief to win today,” said Ewan. “The team worked so well and the least I could do was win today because of how they’ve been riding the last two days.
“Every day my legs are feeling better. Obviously he [Guardini] has been beating me the past days but I feel like I’m getting faster so hopefully I can beat him at the end tomorrow and in the other sprint stages too.”
After losing to Guardini in a sprint finish over the last two days, today’s climbs provided the perfect back drop for Ewan to shed the Italian rider during the first 50 kilometers of today’s race.
“I saw him [Guardini] at the start up the first climb and he really looked to be suffering so that’s where we made the plan that if we really put the hammer down on the second climb that we might drop the pure sprinters so that’s what we did.”
Indeed, with Guardini and other sprinters out of the way, Orica -GreenEdge set about reeling in the day’s five-man breakaway, which had built a lead of over three minutes, before setting up their young leader.
“We didn’t want to bring the break back too quickly otherwise that would mean counter attacks so we timed it so we caught them in the last 10km,” explained Ewan. “In the end there were still all the counter attacks and that made it pretty stressful and keeping the race together was pretty hard but luckily the guys were strong enough to keep it together.”
Today’s stage was mostly a flat 165 kilometer route, which headed south down the east coast. Ewan, who was looking to finally capture a victory, said:
“I’m really confident with the team we have to control the race tomorrow. We might need a bit of help from Astana, because they want to go for the sprint as well, so I’m sure there are teams that will help us too if everyone wants a sprint.”
A small breakaway group containing, Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthCare), Frederic Brun (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), Francisco Mancebo, and Soufiane Haddi (both Skydive Dubai), managed to ride clear just ahead of the first climb of the day.
From there, King of Mountains leader, Reijnen, was the first rider over the climb.
However, as the peloton reached the climb, the breakaway group’s lead began to dwindle. And, by the time the chase had reached the summit, their lead was holding at 3:20.
Back in the peloton, Team Sky took up the pace setting during the final 10 kilometers – slowly chipping away at the escapee’s lead until they were eventually caught.
From there, Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) put in an attack, followed by Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo), who manage to make his stick. But, despite leading into the last 3 kilometers with a slight 13 second gap, Orica GreenEdge hit the front, with Ewan launching himself during the final moments of today’s stage to seize the win.
photo credit @ Tour de Langkawi
Stage 3 Results
AUS 1 EWAN, Caleb (ORICA GreenEDGE) 4:13:32
ALG 2 REGUIGUI, Youcef (MTN – QHUBEKA)
COL 3 DUQUE, Leonardo Fabio (COLOMBIA)
FRA 4 FEILLU, Romain (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
TUN 5 CHTIOUI, Rafaa (SKYDIVE DUBAI)
ITA 6 CHIRICO, Luca (BARDIANI CSF)
ITA 7 AGNOLI, Valerio (ASTANA)
ITA 8 FRAPPORTI, Marco (ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI)
ERI 9 KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN, Merhawi (MTN – QHUBEKA)
ITA 10 TALIANI, Alessio (ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI)
COL 11 HENAO GOMEZ, Sebastian (SKY)
ERI 12 BERHANE, Natnael (MTN – QHUBEKA)
ERI 13 TEKLEHAIMANOT, Daniel (MTN – QHUBEKA)
INA 14 MANULANG, Robin (PEGASUS CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM)
INA 15 ARISTYA, Chelly (PEGASUS CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM)
CHN 16 ZHANG, Wenlong (GIANT-CHAMPION SYSTEM)
USA 17 BOSWELL, Ian (SKY)
DEN 18 HANSEN, Jesper (TINKOFF – SAXO)
COL 19 MARTÍNEZ, Daniel (COLOMBIA)
IRL 20 DEIGNAN, Philip (SKY)
General Classification after Stage 3
AUS 1 EWAN, Caleb (ORICA GreenEDGE) 11:02:52
ERI 2 BERHANE, Natnael (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 13
ALG 3 REGUIGUI, Youcef (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 16
ESP 4 MANCEBO, Francisco (SKYDIVE DUBAI)
COL 5 DUQUE, Leonardo Fabio (COLOMBIA) + 18
FRA 6 BRUN, Frédéric (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT) + 19
CHN 7 ZHANG, Wenlong (GIANT-CHAMPION SYSTEM) + 20
CHN 8 LIU, Jianpeng (HENGXIANG CYCLING TEAM)
INA 9 MANULANG, Robin (PEGASUS CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM) + 21
FRA 10 FEILLU, Romain (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT) + 22
ITA 11 CHIRICO, Luca (BARDIANI CSF)
ITA 12 AGNOLI, Valerio (ASTANA)
COL 13 HENAO GOMEZ, Sebastian (SKY)
ERI 14 KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN, Merhawi (MTN – QHUBEKA)
TUN 15 CHTIOUI, Rafaa (SKYDIVE DUBAI)
JPN 16 HAYAKAWA, Tomohiro (AISAN RACING)
DEN 17 HANSEN, Jesper (TINKOFF – SAXO)
RSA 18 JANSE VAN RENSBURG, Jacques (MTN – QHUBEKA)
ERI 19 TEKLEHAIMANOT, Daniel (MTN – QHUBEKA)
KAZ 20 ZEITS, Andrey (ASTANA)
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