Canadian Adam de Vos was the last man standing of an original nine-rider breakaway to give his US-registered UCI Professional Continental team Rally Cycling its first win of the season in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia at Le Tour de Langkawi (UCI 2.HC) on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old from British Columbia, who still shows the bruises and abrasions from a Stage 1 crash, bested his remaining break-mates Dae-yeon Kim (KSPO-Bianchi Asia), Nik Mohamad Azman Zulkifli (Forca-Amskins) and Australian Harry Sweeny (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) by 13 seconds after riding in the front of the race for 160 of Stage 3’s 166 kilometres.
The next wave of riders, which included Rally teammate Eric Young (USA), crossed the line more than a minute later (+1:19).
“At the start it’s always hard to tell,” said de Vos referring to the break’s chances to stay way after losing general classification contender Thomas Lebas (Kinan) following the first intermediate sprint. “We had eight riders and all worked together well and were strong.
“After the last intermediate sprint I knew we had a really good chance because we still had seven minutes with 65k to go and we all weren’t too tired, so we could ride strong and fast and that’s when I knew we had good chance to stay away.”
Canadian A_de_Vos gives newly registered @UCI_cycling Pro Conti team @Rally_Cycling its first win of the season with a sensational breakaway win on the third stage of @ltdlofficial, thus moving into yellow in the process! | via @Eurosport @CanadianCycling #homeofcycling #ltdl2018 pic.twitter.com/Cie0wwdyEe — Aaron S. Lee (@aaronshanelee) March 20, 2018
With the win, de Vos, who finished second on Stage 5 at the 2016 Amgen Tour of California, moves into the overall lead by 14 seconds after lifting the yellow leader’s jersey from Italian sprinter and Stage 2 winner Riccardo Minali (Astana). He becomes the third stage winner and race leader in as many days and intends to defend.
When asked if he was a GC rider, he responded without hesitation: “I am going to have to be.”
With another expected sprint stage on Wednesday, the 23rd edition of the UCI 2. HC Asia Tour race features the second of two mountain stages on Thursday with a hilltop finish atop the Cameron Highlands — won by Dimension Data’s Mekseb Debesay last year.
“I know the climb,” he explained. “It can be a big group at the end. I am just going to recover the next day and give it my all on the climb there.
“If I lose the jersey I will be disappointed, but I’m still happy with a stage win.”
De Vos becomes the first Canadian in 14 years to win a stage at Langkawi and only the fourth rider all time. The last rider to do so was Rally’s sports director Eric Wohlberg in 2004, who along with countryman Brian Walton (1997), also won in Kuala Terengganu in 1999.
“Honestly, we thought it was going be a field sprint but we always want to put a guy in any kind of signifiant move if it’s big enough regardless who is in it,” Wohlberg told Eurosport. “Hats off to the breakaway guys. They committed and rode that thing hard and I feel bad for the guys that came out towards the end there, but it was a huge effort from the whole move and Adam just had the horsepower to stick it. I’m really proud of him.”
For full stage and race results, click here.
Photo: Mokhriz Aziz/LTDL2018