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It was a topsy-turvy day in Malaysia Monday as Miguel Ángel López suffered a mechanical and lost his GC lead, giving Reinardt Janse van Rensburg the chance to lead Le Tour de Langkawi, despite crashing in stage 6’s finale, which Jakub Mareczko won.
Behind Southeast – Venezuela’s Italian winner, Tinkoff’s Juraj Sagan was second, and Dylan Page (Roth) finished third in Rembau after 147.6km.
“It’s been a bit difficult for me to take part in the sprints early on because there have been a few crashes, but today finally I managed to make it,” Mareczko said. “Today there were more KOM primes than usual. It wasn’t easy to hold the place, but my teammates kept me in the main group. In the last few corners, in the run-in to the finish, I stayed in the first three so I was in the right position for sprinting.”
An eight-man breakaway went clear after 10 kilometers of racing: Songezo Jim (Dimension Data), Michael Gogl (Tinkoff), James Oram (One Pro Cycling), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani – CSF), Tim Scully (Drapac), Gong Hyo Suk (KSPO), Amirul Mazuki (Terengganu), and Giuseppe Fonzi (Southeast). Eventually, as UnitedHealthcare drove the peloton, all were caught except Maestri and Gong. The duo was soon joined by by Adrien Niyonshuti (Dimension Data), Gogl again, Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare), and Julen Amezqueta (Southeast).
Putt rode away solo from that group, but he was caught and passed by George Harper of One Pro Cycling on the last king of the mountains sprint with 8km to go at Bukit Miku. On the downhill, Harper was caught. López broke his wheel with 6km to go. The race leader chased hard but couldn’t return to the peloton before the sprint.
“I am really sorry for López to lose the jersey in such a way,” Dimension Data’s Janse van Rensburg said. “It is not the nicest way to take the jersey. I was looking forward to a bit more of a battle for the jersey, but I guess it’s cycling … But after the line, I was a little bit disappointed because I missed my chance to go for the victory today. Some guys went straight into me in the corner, so I didn’t make the corner at 500m to go. My chain was off after that so I had to stop to put it back on.” Janse van Rensburg is 12 seconds ahead of Astana’s López, who is now third overall. UnitedHealthcare’s Daniel Jaramillo is second, 11 seconds back.
Stage 7 from Seremban to Parit Sulong is the longest of the event, 202.3 kilometers with two categorized climbs early.