NTT Pro Cycling sent out an early warning to their Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) rivals after their sprinter Max Walscheid won the Malaysian International Criterium, an LTdL warm-up event, in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
Walscheid edged Terengganu Cycling Team’s (TSG) Harrif Saleh (second) and St George Cycling Team’s Blake Quick (third) to clinch the win in one hour, 42 minutes and one second.
A total of 116 riders competed in the 80km race.
An early break comprising 17 riders led for much of the race before being reeled in by the peloton within 5km from the finish to set up a bunch sprint.
NTT’s Samuele Battistella (Italy), the reigning world Under-23 champion, and Dylan Sunderland (Australia) were in the breakaway group.
“I think we were always in a good position today (yesterday). We had two of our strongest guys in the breakaway, so we didn’t have to ride (and chase),” said the 26-year-old Walscheid.
“Even though they were brought back (by the peloton), they still participated in the (sprint) lead out for our team.”
NTT are the only WorldTeam competing in this year’s LTdL.
The first stage of LTdL today will be a similar affair with riders set to loop Kuching, covering a total distance of 96.2km. The start and finish will be at Padang Merdeka.
It is a relatively flat profile route with intermediate sprints at Sejingkat, Kuching Isthmus and Padang Merdeka (third passage).
1. Max Walscheid (Ger) NNT Pro Cycling 1:42:01s, 2. Harrif Salleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team, 3. Blake Quick (Aus) St George Cycling Team, 4. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane, 5. Jeremy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept - all same time.