Tour de Langkawi #6: Gibbons keeps upright to retain yellow

Enrico Barbin (Bardiani) won stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi, sprinting to victory ahead of Anthony Giacoppo (IsoWhey) and Filippo Pozzato (Wilier). Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s race leader, Ryan Gibbons, finished in 13th today and kept the overall classification and points competition lead.

It was a wet start to the 6th stage of the Tour de Langkawi but that did not slow the peloton down as they attacked the early climbs of the day. The start was so rapid in fact that all but 30 riders were dropped after the opening climbs had been completed. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were in control of the front group and eventually let 3 riders clear.

With still over 100km of flat road to the finish in Muar, the peloton was able to regroup before starting to chase down the 3 escapees. Our African Team rode incredibly all stage to protect the yellow jersey in rather wet and slippery conditions. It was only with 40km to go that the rain seemed to subside but the roads remained wet.

As with previous stages, the other sprint teams started to contribute to the chase near the later part of the stage and this ensured the break was caught and another sprint finale would decide the stage. With 5km to go Gibbons had been placed in the top 5 positions by his African Team. With a number of teams yet to get something out of the race, there were a few risks being taken in the final few greasy corners. With the yellow jersey the main priority, Gibbons allowed for common sense to prevail.

Barbin was first to the line while Gibbons just followed the wheels of the front runners. At the line Gibbons placed 13th on the stage, a result which saw him keep the yellow leaders jersey and teal sprinters jersey with just 2 more stages left to race.

Ryan Gibbons – Rider
It was a bit of a crazy stage. The weather was really bad in the beginning. The first few climbs were quite tough and I wasn’t feeling too great but as the day went on I got into it. Again the team sat on the front and controlled the race all day. Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Adrien Niyonshuti again doing absolutely phenomenal jobs. Coming into the final it was wet and a bit treacherous so we lost the wheel but I was happy to just stay upright and not lose any time.