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Trust and confidence deliver McCabe to Langkawi stage win

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UHC's Travis McCabe waves from the podium

UHC's Travis McCabe waves from the podium (Image credit: Con Chronis)
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UHC's Travis McCabe narrowly wins stage 2 of le Tour de Langkawi

UHC's Travis McCabe narrowly wins stage 2 of le Tour de Langkawi (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The stage 3 podium of Docker, McCabe and Howard

The stage 3 podium of Docker, McCabe and Howard (Image credit: Con Chronis)
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Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare) celebrates his win

Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare) celebrates his win (Image credit: Con Chronis)
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Travis McCabe on one of the KOM's

Travis McCabe on one of the KOM's (Image credit: Con Chronis)

Travis McCabe's 2017 is shaping up as his best season yet after the American again validated his move to the Pro Continental ranks with UnitedHealthcare via a stage 2 victory at the Tour de Langkawi.

The team's visit Down Under and to Malaysia for the Tour de Langkawi has been one of dual purposes: Dial in the new sprint train ahead of its key American races and repeat its 2016 success. On both fronts, the team and McCabe are hitting their targets after opening their shared account at the Herald Sun Tour earlier this month.

"We are using these races to really perfect the lead out train and establish that trust and the faith that I have in all the riders and one another," McCabe told Cyclingnews.

Having made a "rookie mistake" in starting his sprint too early during stage 1, McCabe explained that the calming influence and experience of Greg Henderson was key to Thursday's victory.

"I wanted to work on the patience and just trust the guys in what they are able to do," he said. "I am rooming with Greg this whole week, and he's the one breaking everything down. You can see it is paying off."

While McCabe was signed by the 'Blue Train' as the man to finish off the job in the sprints, Henderson has been an equally important off-season acquisition as an experienced lead-out man. Over the past few seasons, McCabe emerged as one of the top Continental sprinters on the American scene, with his results earning a contract to the Pro Continental squad. Henderson, meanwhile, was a crucial cog in Andre Greipel's Grand Tour stage winning sprint train prior to re-joining the team.

The duo have clicked in their first two races with the team, with McCabe able to demonstrate his potential when he's got a committed lead-out at his disposal.

"The biggest thing is getting me to calm down and be patient and put the trust into them," he said of his new teammates. "Coming from a team that didn't really have a lead-out and I was kind of fighting for myself, to come to a team where I have six to eight guys behind me, it's a game changer."

The two wins have not only boosted McCabe's self-confidence but his trust and confidence in his new teammates to lay the groundwork for a successful 2017.

"My confidence right now is sky high," he said. "I am doing everything we have talked about doing and it is not so much confidence in myself as confidence in the other guys. We have a super strong team, and being patient, waiting and using my team to get me the win shows that it is not just one person. Everyone contributes, so it is awesome."

While stage 4's climb up Cameron Highlands will shake up the general classification, bonus seconds at the finish line and intermediate sprint points in the six remaining stages keep the sprinters in the frame for overall contention.

While focused on stage wins, should the possibility of riding for GC open up for the 27-year-old, he will take it with both hands. Although should McCabe decide to simply focus on the sprint stages, UnitedHealthcare can play its Daniel Jaramillo card 12-months on from his breakout ride in Langkawi.

"The GC is definitely an ambition, but we have Jaramillo too," said McCabe, who currently sits second in the general classification. "He was second last year and he is kind of our go to guy for the GC. But if I can make it up those climbs like I showed today, then yeah I'll give it a shot."


Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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