American John Murphy sprints to Langkawi victory

UnitedHealthcare's John Murphy continues his successful early season with a sprint win in Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia.

Photo: TDW

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UnitedHealthcare’s John Murphy sprinted to his second international victory in stage 3 of Le Tour de Langkawi on Friday, getting the best of Italians Francesco Chicchi (Androni Giocattoli — Sidermec) and Jakub Mareczko (Southeast — Venezuela), who were second and third, respectively.

With a crosswind coming from the left, UHC wisely positioned its squad on the right, guttering the field and setting up Murphy for his first career stage victory in Malaysia on a 107.2km day from Kulim to Kuala Sangsar.

“The Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling team was phenomenal today,” Murphy, 31, said. “The guys did an awesome job keeping me in pole position all day, keeping me hydrated in the heat, giving me Ally’s bars … I was in a really good position in the last corner. I had a great lead-out. It was a drag race; that’s what I like. It’s a wonderful finish for me and my team. I’m very happy to win here in Malaysia. I’m having an amazing time. It’s a beautiful country and we’ll keep on racing ’til the end.”

The third day in the eight-day race saw a trio of breakaway riders stay up the road for about 100 kilometers of racing. However, Donaben Goh (Terengganu), James Oram (One Pro Cycling), and Joao Pereira (Funvic-Soul-Carrefour) never got more than four minutes’ advantage. Oram and Goh pressed on and stayed away up until 2km to go, but they were swallowed up by a field that was setting the table for a sprint.

“I’m disappointed,” Chicchi said. “I’ve had to launch from a bit too far out. UnitedHealthcare did a perfect job. They went to the right, protected by the barriers, while I was in the middle of the road going slightly uphill and exposed to the side wind. I have lost because of my too strong desire to win.”

Monday’s winner, Andrea Guardini (Astana) keeps the GC lead by two seconds over Skydive Dubai’s Andrea Palini. Murphy moves up to third overall with his Friday win. On Saturday, stage 4 features an uphill finish at Cameron Highlands after 129.4km of racing.

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