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KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Reinardt Janse van Rensburg powered his way to win the Tour de Langkawi Wednesday despite not winning any stages.
The 27-year-old Dimension Data rider finished 12th in the final stretch of the race in Malaysia’s southern Malacca state, but he still reigned overall with a total time of 28:31:21 on the challenging, eight-stage route.
The victory for van Rensburg is a boost ahead of his spring campaign in Europe, starting with his first major target of Milano-Sanremo on March 19.
“I was a bit nervous today. I was counting down the kilometers and I was relieved when I saw the 3km to go mark,” van Rensburg said. “This is my first stage race victory since 2012. It’s been a long time.
“I’m happy with this breakthrough victory. This is definitely the biggest win of my career.”
Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez of UnitedHealthcare finished second overall at 18 seconds back, while Astana’s Miguel Lopez Moreno was another tick behind in third.
Astana’s Andrea Guardini won the 119-kilometer stage 8, his fourth victory in this edition of the race. He has won a record 22 Tour de Langkawi stages since 2011. Jakub Mareczko of Southeast and Shiki Kuroeda of Aisan Racing Team claimed second and third Wednesday. The stage included an 8km finishing circuit through the historical district in Malacca City.
Van Rensburg is the fourth African rider to win the event’s overall title after Algerian Youcef Reguigui (2015) and South Africans Ryan Cox (2005) and David George (2006).