Penang—Hideto Nakane broke the nine-year drought of Japanese stage winners as he pulled off an exhilarating victory in the sixth stage of the 25th Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi yesterday.
Nippo Delko Provence's Nakane stormed to the front with Gleb Brussenskiy of Vino-Astana Motors in the last five kilometers, leaving the chasing peloton behind.
The two-headed to a climactic finish, with the Japanese rider taking the stage with a clocking of 3:29:15, followed by Brussenskiy (+0:00).
The last time a Japanese won a stage in the LTdL was in 2011, with Aisan Racing Team's Takeaki Ayabe.
The result required a thorough inspection and a handful of replays before the race officials declared Nakane as the winner of the 150.9-kilometer stage that began in Taiping.
The Stage 6 conquest also served as Nakane's first professional career win.
"I achieved this because of my teammates. I'm happy for my first professional win," said Nakane.
Reigning U-23 world champion Samuele Battistella (+0:04) of NTT Pro Cycling team secured his first podium medal as a pro rider.
Battiestella, 21, admitted that he got sick at the beginning of the Union Cycliste Internationale-supported event, but he now has fully recovered from his bad start.
Yellow jersey (individual general classification) holder Danilo Celano is looking to etch his name in LTdL's history books as he tries to become the first Italian in 24 years to claim the individual category.
"It's been a hard race from the beginning until the end, but I'm still thankful to remain the holder of the yellow jersey", he told the press.
Celano praised his Team Sapura Cycling mates for protecting his position as he showed confidence in the upcoming stages.
"It will be a big achievement for me to win the overall tour and I am confident to win because I have a strong team, we are looking to hold the position altogether," he added.
Another Team Sapura standout Nur Aiman Zariff kept the Resorts World Genting red jersey (best climber).
The 19-year-old Yevgeniy Fedorov (Vino-Astana Motors) clung to the best Asian rider title, while German sprinter Max Walscheid preserved the green jersey (best sprinter)
The tournament moves to the seventh stage today, a 130.4-km flat route from Bagan to Alor Setar marked by three intermediate sprints with no categorized climb.
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