Reinardt Janse van Rensburg now appreciates his overall lead in the Tour de Langkawi after he and his Dimension Data team worked hard to defend it on Tuesday’s seventh stage against a number of attempts to usurp him.
“Definitely,” Janse van Rensburg replied when asked if he felt better about being in the yellow jersey. “I think the team showed today how strong they are. After defending it, I think it feels a little bit better to have it on my shoulders now.”
When Janse van Rensburg took the overall leader’s yellow jersey on Monday’s sixth stage, he expressed regret for the circumstances that led to him deposing the overnight leader, Columbian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and moving up from second place overall at 23 seconds to the Astana rider into first place.
Lopez, who took the lead by winning stage four on Sunday into the Cameron Highlands, lost his lead on Sunday due to a broken wheel with six kilometres to go that led to him finishing 35 seconds behind Janse van Rensburg and the peloton.
Starting Tuesday’s seventh stage, 202.3km from Seremban to Parit Sulong, Janse van Rensburg led the tour by 11 seconds over second placed Daniel Jaramillo (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cyling) of Colombia and 12 seconds on third placed Lopez.
The overall podium standings remained the same after Andrea Guardini (Astana) won the stage – his third this year and 21st career victory in the tour – in a bunch sprint from fellow Italian Jakub Mareczko (Southeast-Venezuala) and Slovakian Juraj Sagan (Tinkoff). But Janse van Rensburg, fifth on the stage, was more buoyant after he and his team fought off the moves by his key rivals and their teams to pressure him with a number of attacks – moves also aimed at trying to reshuffle the overall classification below him (with only 59 seconds separating second to 25th positions) and the various positions in the the other categories still up for grabs.
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