Rally Cycling’s Adam de Vos won stage three of the Tour de Langkawi today and now leads the overall classification. It was de Vos’ first HC win, the first win for the men in 2018, and Rally Cycling’s first yellow jersey as a pro continental team.
While still suffering the effects of a hard crash on stage one, de Vos found his way into a breakaway six km into the 166 km race with eight other riders. With a long day of crosswinds along the northern coast, de Vos and his companions built a significant lead over their pursuers. Coming into the line, the young Canadian rouleur attacked solo with two kilometers remaining to claim victory. He now has a 14 second advantage over second place rider Nik Mohd Hazwan Zulkiflie (Forca Amskins Racing) going into stage four.
“I have come close to a big victory like this before but have never quite pulled it off. To earn the yellow jersey on top of it, I’m ecstatic,” said de Vos. “My ribs are still pretty banged up and I have a lot of road rash from stage one, but our doctor Mark Greve has taken good care of me.”
The race, with many flat stage profiles, is historically one for the sprinters, so it was unusual that the powerful leadout trains of the race let the breakaway build a large advantage. With two WorldTour teams failing to control the race, the general classification got turned on its head.
“The team’s plan was to cover any big groups going up the road to avoid having to chase all day,” said de Vos. “We got away early and built up a lead of over seven minutes by the halfway point. When I saw we still had five minutes with 30 kilometers remaining, I knew we stood a good chance to survive. As we approached the finish, I knew I didn’t want to sprint against the Korean KSPO rider so I attacked during a lull with two kilometers to go and rode away.”
It has been 14 years since a Canadian last won at the Tour of Langkawi. Current team director Eric Wohlberg won the stage five individual time trial in the 2004 edition of the race.
“I went to Adam immediately after the race, gave him a hug, told him I was proud of him, and that my time trial win trumps his little breakaway performance,” laughed Wohlberg. “You need to keep these guys hungry.”
The field finished over a minute behind with Eric Young crossing the line in sixth.
Tomorrow’s stage four will cover a relatively flat 184 km course and finish in the east Malaysian town of Pekan. The biggest challenge ahead of the team is the summit finish to Cameron Highlands on stage five where the overall classification is likely to be decided. With teams limited to only six riders, you can expect all hands on deck to defend de Vos’s yellow jersey.
Stage Three Results
1 Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling 3:58:18
2 Daeyeon Kim (Kor) KSPO Bianchi Asia Procycling 0:00:13
3 Nik Mohd Hazwan Zulkiflie (Mas) Forca Amskins Racing
4 Harrison Sweeny (Aus) Mitchelton-BikeExchange
5 Anuar Manan (Mas) Forca Amskins Racing 0:01:19
6 Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
7 Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team
8 Luca Pacioni (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
9 Dylan Page (Swi) Team Sapura Cycling
10 Marko Kump (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
1 Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling 12:45:31
2 Nik Mohd Hazwan Zulkiflie (Mas) Forca Amskins Racing 0:00:14
3 Harrison Sweeny (Aus) Mitchelton-BikeExchange 0:00:22
4 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
5 Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:01:24
6 Joonyong Seo (Kor) KSPO Bianchi Asia Procycling
7 Mekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data 0:01:26
8 Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF
9 Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
10 Thomas Lebas (Fra) Kinan Cycling Team 0:01:27
A crash on the finishing straight saw Kyle Murphy go down. He cut his lower leg and was stitched up by team doctor Mark Greve after the finish. Murphy is expected to start tomorrow’s stage in Dungun.