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Friday, December 8, 2023

Italian rider grabs Langkawi tour leadership

BALING, KEDAH, Malaysia—Stage 3 honors slipped from the hands of Enrico Zeanoncello of Green Project, but the Italian rider grabbed the overall leadership of the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi on Monday.

Jackson George of Dalton Equities topped the 183.1-km race from Jeli to Baling in a stage that proved to be the most challenging thus far in this nine-lap tour featuring the best continental teams from Asia and Pro Tour campaigners from Europe.

George was in the lead pack that made a breakaway right in the first of four King of Mountain portions and never wavered under harsh conditions—a weather that blew wet and dry due to scattered rains and slippery, winding descents.

The sprint battle in stage 3. Randy Caluag

“It was so difficult today, but thankfully I pulled it off,” said George, who won the sprint finish and clocked 4 hours and 14.13 minutes, along with 14 others in the lead group.

Zanoncello said he wanted the stage win, but it’s a consolation in taking the overall leadership jersey with a cumulative time of 12.55. after four stages.

“But I’m still disappointed,”he said.

The Filipino riders from 7-Eleven-Cliqq-Air21-RoadbikePH were left behind in a big group that came to the finish more than 30 minutes later.

“Nagkasabay pa ako lead pack sa unang ahon Pero bumitaw din ako,” said Nichol Pareja.

The six-man crew that also included Ryan Tugawin, Ismael Grospe, Junreck Carcueva, Rench Michael Bondoc and Joshua Pascual all crossed the finish line safe and sound.

But three members of Giant Cycling Team from China were unfortunate as they figured in an accident when the support van they were riding flipped over in an effort to catch the starting gun after they missed the start and got lost along the way.

The riders and the driver sustained minor injuries and were treated to a nearby hospital.

Tuesday’s stage 4 is the shortest thus far— a 140.2-km race from Bukit Mertajam to Meru Raya.

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