Sweeny slips from third to fifth overall after tough stage seven in Langkawi

Sat 24 Mar 2018

A long and hard seventh stage at Le tour de Langkawi saw the race split over the climbs with a group of ten leaders going clear to contest the stage win and 19-year-old Harry Sweeny caught behind and in the middle of a fight for the podium.

Mitchelton-BikeExchange went into stage seven third overall with the top ten riders on the general classification all within one minute of each other.

Over 222kilometres of racing a tactical stalemate played out behind what turned into a successful breakaway when the ten leading riders went into the finish with their advantage intact and Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) sprinting clear of his companions for the stage victory.

The outcome for the overall standings was a reshuffle of the top ten with a few riders slipping two or three places and Sweeny dropping into fifth ahead of tomorrow’s final day of racing.

Harry Sweeny – 5th GC:

“Tactically it was an interesting race today, it was on from the flag drop and flat out all the way through. There was no let up with the pace at all and some of the tactics from the other teams seemed to be concentrated on trying to get some time on me and our position on GC, but that ended up letting the break stay away and we all dropped back two or three places.”

“It was definitely a mistake, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it because if we rode to bring it back our rivals would have let us work and then attacked and gained time on me anyway, it was definitely a hard race to get to grips with tactically.

“We’re in fifth now, but the top ten riders are all still quite close on the GC and for sure tomorrow we will see another difficult stage and we’re preparing for a fight to either try and move up or hold on to our position.”

Tour of Langkawi stage seven results:

1. Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) 05:08:23

2. Eugert Zhupa (Willier-Triestina-Selle-Italia) ST

3. Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana-Pro-Team) ST

16. Harry Sweeny (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:28

General classification after stage seven:

1. Artem Ovechkin (Terengganu-Cycling-Team) 28:56:20

2. Lukasz Owsian (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice) +0:28

3. Benjamin Dyball (St.George-Cycling-Team) +0:32

5. Harry Sweeny (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +0:59

Photos courtesy of QiCycling.