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Andrea Guardini (Astana) grabbed his third victory at the Tour de Langkawi on Wednesday, sprinting to the stage 4 win.
The Italian edged Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) at the finish of the 165.4-kilometer stage from Kota Bharu to Kuala Berang in Malaysia.
Guardini won the first two stages of the eight-day race, with Ewan taking second in both of those before winning stage 3.
Thanks to time bonuses, Ewan maintained his overall lead and is 17 seconds ahead of Natnael Berhane and 20 seconds better than Youcef Reguigui, both of MTN-Qhubeka.
Guardini now has a record 17 career wins at the Tour de Langkawi, dating back to 2011.
“I am happy with the way the sprint went,” Guardini said in a press release from the race. “I managed a really good sprint to take this win. Today was a really fast-paced stage, with the speed in the earlier part already very high at 50 to 60 kph.
“I then had a good leadout and I took a good risk, then the job was done. For the moment, this is a good result. But for now, I think I can do more than this.”
A five-man breakaway went clear of the peloton 30km into the stage, and the group — consisting of Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), Elchin Asadov (Synergy Baku), Vladimir Gusev (Skydive Dubai), and Jamalidin Novardianto (Pegasus) — almost survived. The peloton caught them 2km from the finish.
Ewan spoke about the stage’s lumpy profile, which included a Category 4 climb 40km from the finish line.
“I climbed well yesterday and tried to just stay in the group,” Ewan said. “But I’m not really a pure climber. I prefer to sprint. It depends on the day. If I feel good on the day, then I can climb well, but if I don’t then it will be the other way around.”
The race picks up with Thursday’s stage 5, a 200km trek from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan.