KUALA LUMPUR: Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec's Manuel Belletti won Stage Seven, the longest stage in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), covering 222.5km from Nilai to Muar on Saturday.
Italy's Belletti bagged the victory after winning a 10-man sprint in five hours, eight minutes and 23 seconds, ahead of Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia's Eugert Zhupa, who emerged the first Albanian to finish on the LTdL podium, while Astana's Ruslan Tleubayev took third.
Yellow jersey holder Artem Ovechkin of the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) arrived in the second group, one minute and 28 seconds behind the lead group, which was enough to sustain the Russian's overall lead.
Italy's Riccardo Minali of Astana maintained his lead in the points classification with 55 points despite not collecting any bonus points.
Astana's Yevgeniy Gidich also retained his lead in the Asian riders' classification.
The only change in leadership was in the non-jersey Malaysian riders' classification with Team Sapura Cycling's Zawawi Azman, who was the only local rider to finish in the second group of 31 riders, taking a commanding lead of over 13 minutes from second-placed teammate Nur Aiman Zariff.
"Today's (Saturday) win is a meaningful one as my last win was more than two years ago.” said Belletti.
Only 104 riders will start the final stage on Sunday from Rembau to Kuala Lumpur.
1. Manuel Belotti – ANDRONI GIOCATOLLI – 5:08:23
2. Eugert Zhupa - WILLIER TRIESTINA – same
3. Ruslan Tleubayiev – ASTANA – same
1. Artem Ovechkin – TSG – 28:56:20
2. Lukasz Owsian – CCC Sprandi – 28:56:48
3. Benjamin Dyball – ST GEORGE CONTINENTAL – 28:56:52
BEST SPRINTERS’ (GREEN JERSEY)
1. Riccardo Minali – ASTANA – 55 points
2. Andrea Guardini –BARDINI – 46 points
3. Luca Pacioni – WILLIER TRISTINA – 35 points
BEST CLIMBERS’ (RED POLKA DOT JERSEY)
1. Artem Ovechkin – TSG – 40 points
2. Bernardo Arango – Manzana Postobon – 38 points
3. Alvaro Sandoval – Forca Amskins – 38 points