Saturday’s stage 7 of the Le Tour de Langkawi was the race’s longest at 222.4km, and saw top-10 finishes for Jaco Venter (5th) and Johann van Zyl (8th) at the finish in Muar.
The stage was won by Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) with the 1st 8 riders home all credited with the same time.
After some initial jostling for position the early break saw Paolo Simion (Bardiani) and Brendon Davids (Bennelong) go clear, their attack though was caught at the 30km mark. Another attack coming almost immediately after that from five riders which was reeled in by the 50km mark.
By the 100km mark a large split in the peloton saw a group of 37 riders that held a lead of only 30s to the rest n which included both Venter and van Zyl.
That group managed to stretch their lead over the yellow jersey group by 2:20 with 100km to go. The race ebbed and flowed at that point until nearly the 200km mark when the action stepped-up with a small breakaway group of 10 riders opening up a gap of 50s.
That group held on to the line from 20km out which saw Belletti take line honours.
Amanuel Gebreighzabhier is now 6th on the GC with the final stage tomorrow to come.
Jaco Venter – Rider
It was a hard day and the race was never under control. Johann and I ended up in a few moves but it wasn’t really good for our GC ambitions so we didn’t want to contribute too much, but in the end we were with about 8 guys and we tried to go for the win .
Johann came close and almost stayed away but I was a bit slow in the end. I was feeling pretty good but I guess I need to work on my sprinting a bit more.