Having slipped from second to third on the penultimate stage of the Tour de Langkawi, Ben Dyball fought tooth and nail to ensure his third place in Kula Lumpur Sunday afternoon. The 28-year-old Australian from the St George Cycling Team tracked the moves of his rivals across the 141km stage that had threated to once again blow wide open the GC.
In the end, the stage concluded with Andrea Guardini winning in Kula Lumpur for the fifth time and Dyball recording his best UCI stage result to date.
"It was controlled at the start but going into the KOM at 75km to go, it was full gas from there on. We caught the break and then another break went and chased that one and then there were more guys off the front and it never eased up," Dyball told Cyclingnews at the finish line.
Although Arturo Sierra Sanchez (Manzana Postobon) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhie (Dimension Data) both enjoyed stints as the virtual race leader in the chaotic final stage, the vested interest of the other GC teams and sprint team ensured the finale was always likely to be decided in a bunch gallop. The eventual outcome suiting Dyball who admitted he was not feeling 100 percent for the stage.
"I wasn't having the best of days so it was more just trying to hang on. There was one time where I had a go but the yellow jersey was straight on me. After that, I just tried to keep good position and hold onto the main bunch. To get onto the podium, it is what I came here to do so I am happy."
Dyball, a former Australian U23 road race champion, spent the first half of last season with St. George before taking a stagiaire ride with the French Delko Marseille Provence KTM squad. The opportunity providing valuable experience although Tour de Langkawi is only the second 2.HC race that Dyball has ridden. His third-place boding well for a season ahead that will feature predominately Asian Tour racing.
Having broken through for his first major podium, the challenge now for Dyball is to replicate the result. The first test coming at next week's Tour of Thailand and then again at the 2.HC Tour of Qinghai Lake in July.