Ryan Gibbons from Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka won the 2017 Tour de Langkawi overall, making it the 3rd win in a row for our African Team at the Malaysian UCI 2.HC event. Mekseb Debesay and Ben O’Connor also finished in the top 10 overall while Gibbons secured the teal sprinters jersey to make it a phenomenal week of racing for our African Team.
The final stage of the Tour de Langkawi came down to a small peloton of just 40 riders sprinting for the stage win. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had all 6 of its riders in this reduced group, with our yellow jersey wearer Gibbons, the protected rider once again. The stage win went to Travis McCabe (United Healthcare), Anthony Giacoppo (IsoWhey Sports) was 2nd and Riccardo Stacchiotti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) placed 3rd.
Gibbons placed 4th in the final stage sprint finish which was enough to ensure the 22-year-old South African won both the yellow leaders jersey and teal sprinters jersey overall. Gibbons was able to secure both jerseys after consistent performances over all 8 stages, placing outside of the top 10 just twice in 8 days of racing, including his stage 5 win.
It was a dream race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Gibbons may have won the overall title, but it was thanks to the support of an incredibly strong team that brought the victory home. Mekseb Debesay placed 5th overall and won stage 4. Ben O’Connor, like Gibbons, is a first year professional and the young Australian finished 8th overall. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Nic Dougall and Adrien Niyonshuti were the 3 riders who selflessly worked day in, day out to keep the yellow jersey within the team for yet another year.
Ryan Gibbons – Rider
I am incredibly happy to have won the Tour de Langkawi overall. Being as ambitious as I am, I’m slightly disappointed to not have won today’s final stage. I was on the wheels of the Wilier riders through the final corner and those were just the wrong guys to be following today. But yes, I am really happy to win the yellow jersey, obviously it is the first of my career and I owe it to the amazing support of the team. The guys were incredible all week, motivated by riding for our Qhubeka cause, they gave everything for me to win this jersey. It is a special victory for me and I have really learnt a lot this week. I will take the experience I have gained here to Europe now, where I hope to win more. This is only the start for me and I’m not putting a ceiling in, to what I can achieve as a rider.