Just 24hours after his Mitchelton-BikeExchange teammate Brayan Chaves, Chinese rider Liu Jiankun has featured the day’s break on a fast stage five of the Tour de Langkawi.
The fifth stage move was hotly contested with countless attacks keeping the pace extremely high and even breaking the bunch into three groups with the first 50km of racing.
After more than 60km of fighting, a breakaway of eight riders, including Liu, was finally allowed some freedom.
In first 100km of racing, the group had an average speed of 48kmph and still less than a two-minute advantage on the bunch. It eventually grew to almost three and a half minutes with 50km left to race, but it never looked likely to survive.
As the peloton crept closer, the breakaway began to attack from within inside the final 15km. Liu lost touch as three riders surged ahead, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the bunch sprint won by Matteo Pelucchi of Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec.
“The stage was just like what we expected. The first 40km was really fast, many riders attacked and the peloton split several times. About 45km into the race I tried a big move and came up with a breakaway group of eight riders, among them only six were working.
“After the category-three climb the peloton started to chase hard and we were giving everything we had to keep the gap. I haven’t ridden that hard for a long time, but I was feeling really good. It’s a pity that we didn’t make it to the finish, but I think I really showed some good form from what I did today.”
Dave Sanders – Sport Director:
“I told Liu it was his day out the front today and he kept hitting them until he finally got away and then others came across to him at 130km to go. From then on it was a long day.
“At 50km to go I told Liu to step it up and he put one-minute into the chase. He was the strongest out there. I actually didn’t know he had it in him, it was really impressive and deserved a result.
“In the final section three riders went clear of the break and Liu rode across to them at four kilometres to go and they still had gap. He went clear with one other, before they were eventually caught inside last kilometre before the bunch sprint. A really good effort today!”
Tour of Langkawi – Stage 5 Results:
1. Matteo Pelucchi (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) 4:27:11
2. Blake Quick (St George Continental Cycling Team) ST
3. Travis McCabe (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) ST
Tour of Langkawi – General Classification after Stage 5:
1. Benjamin Dyball (Team Sapura Cycling) 21:52:53
2. Hernan Aguirre (Interpro Cycling Academy) +0:27
3. Keegan Swirbul (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) +0:50