Speedster Sasha Weemaes lunged to second place at the end of the opening stage of Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia in typically humid conditions.
“The boys did a perfect job today,” Weemaes said at the finish. “It was a hectic final 25km but it was the perfect lead out.”
The flat 187km parcours from Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu suited fast legs with the premiere sprinters coming to the fore. Weemaes followed the wheel of Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan Team) inside the final kilometer after a mammoth lead out from the team and his final helper, compatriot Gijs Van Hoecke.
“I waited for the first guy to start the sprint and took his slipstream,” he explained. “When I came next to him he was riding with me to the right side of the road so I lost a lot of meters.”
Having been forced out wide, Weemaes had to grapple his bike into a sprinting lane before lunging for the line where he was narrowly edged out by former rider Arvid de Kleijn (Tudor Pro Cycling Team).
“Really close, but no cigar,” the 25-year-old ended.
An eight day stage race with at least four more profiles that will suit a bunch sprint, there are plenty of opportunities for the Belgian to score a result.
Joining Weemaes and Van Hoecke in Malaysia are Adam de Vos and Benjamin Perry for the lead out and climbers Paul Double and Embret Svestad-Bårdseng who will earmark the mountain tip finish at Genting Highlands to make their mark on the race.
Le Tour de Langkawi stage one results
1 DE KLEIJN Arvid – Tudor Pro Cycling Team 4:25:48
2 WEEMAES Sasha – Human Powered Health ”
3 SYRITSA Gleb – Astana Qazaqstan Team ”
4 ABDUL HALIL Mohamad Izzat Hilmi – Malaysia ”
5 ZANONCELLO Enrico – Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Fiazanè ”
6 CONFORTI Lorenzo – Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Fiazanè ”
7 CANAL Carlos – Euskatel – Euskadi ”
8 BÁRTA Tomáš – Caja Rural – Seguros RGA ”
9 SALEH Mohd Harrif – Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team ”
10 MAZUKI Nur Amirul Fakhruddin – Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team ”
Points standings after one stage
1 DE KLEIJN Arvid – Tudor Pro Cycling Team 4:25:48 15 points
2 WEEMAES Sasha – Human Powered Health 12
3 SYRITSA Gleb – Astana Qazaqstan Team 9
4 ABDUL HALIL Mohamad Izzat Hilmi – Malaysia 7
5 BATSAIKHAN Tegsh-baya – Roojai Online Insurance 6