KOTA BHARU: Astana Qazaqstan’s Gleb Syritsa denied Arvid de Kleijn back-to-back wins as he pipped the latter to emerge victorious in the second stage of Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) today.
Syritsa hit the line first in four hours, 15 minutes and 14 seconds. De Kleijn (Tudor Pro Cycling) and Enrico Zanoncello (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) settled for second and third on the day.
The second stage started in Kuala Terengganu and ended in Kota Bharu, covering a total distance of 186.2 kilometres.
Syritsa, who won stage one in last year’s LTdL, was visibly delighted to be back on the top step of the LTdL podium.
The 23-year-old finished third in the opening stage yesterday.
“I am very happy because this is my first win this season. It feels great to be back in Malaysia,” said the 1.90 metre tall Russian.
“Yesterday (stage one) I made a mistake and went too early.
“Today I just followed the wheel of the Tudor riders and it all went well.”
De Kleijn, however, remains in charge of the general classification (green jersey) with a marginal two second lead over second-placed Syritsa.
The Dutchman, who also leads the sprinters classification (orange jersey) with 27 points, said he is looking forward to more duels with Syritsa.
“I think my team did a good lead-out today and with about 200m left I knew I had to go because the speed was staying the same,” said de Kleijn.
“But there was a headwind and in the end I felt that I just didn’t have it today. Gleb was just more powerful than I was in the last 25m.
“There are more sprints to come and I want to get more battles in with this guy (Syritsa).”
There was plenty of action early on as a group of five riders which included Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team’s (TSG) Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki went up the road just before the 40km mark.
Amirull went on to take maximum points at both the climbs in Pelong and Setiu (both category four) and thus overtook teammate Nur Aiman Zariff atop the mountains classification (polka dot jersey) standings.
Calum Johnstone (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), who went on a solo attack before being reeled in with 24km to go, earned himself the most combative rider daily award.
Roojai Online Insurance’s Tegshbayar Batsaikhan remains in charge of the Asian riders classification (white jersey).
Tomorrow’s third stage from Jeli to Baling (183.1km) will feature four climbs at Puncak Titiwangsa (category one), Jeli and Seri Banding (both category two) and Sungai Rui (category three).