Langkawi, Malaysia—Team Sapura Cycling asserted its dominance once more at the close of the 25th Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi on Friday.
Team Sapura managed to do a repeat of its last year's performance by bagging the team general classification award and taking the yellow jersey, courtesy of the strong showing of Italian skipper Danilo Celano and adding the red jersey from local rider Nur Aiman Zariff.
Formed in 2017, the TSC has been considered as one of the youngest teams entering the LTdL. Last year, they started to make noise by taking the race by surprise with the general team victory and Eric Dyball's masterful display in the individual classification.
Individual champion Celano tallied a total time of 26 hours, 39 minutes and 58 seconds for his yellow jersey, besting best Asian rider awardee and white jersey winner Yevgeniy Fedorov (+0:26) of Vino Astana Motors.
Team Sapura protected Celano from the aggressive attack of the much younger Fedorov, with his team aiding him to stay in the peloton to secure the individual general classification award.
Celano admitted he woke up with fever, but he fought it out for the Malaysian fans that supported Team Sapura from the beginning.
"It was a very hard (race) today because I woke with fever this morning, but I managed to stay in the stage," explained Celano.
"I give this victory for my team and the fans that supported Team Sapura. I know this is a huge accomplishment for the supporters."
Another Team Sapura standout, Zariff, 23, won his first pro jersey after being hailed as the King of the Climb and taking home the red jersey from Resorts World Genting.
NTT Pro Cycling team's Max Walscheid edged out Luca Pacioni of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec and Taj Jones of ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast after leading the bunched sprint at the end of the 108.5-km race with an impressive time of 2:29:06.
Walscheid also secured the best sprinter plum with 65 total points after Jones gave him a scare as his lead plummeted down to two points at the end of the seventh stage last Thursday at Alor Setar.
Tomorrow, the 120-cyclists will return to the Langkawi stage to join the Langkawi Malaysian Classic to give tribute at the end of the 25th Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi.
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