Travis McCabe shines with two wins at Tour of Langkawi
Jaramillo slots into fourth overall on final day
KUALA BERANG, Langkawi (March 1, 2017) – Travis McCabe nabbed top honors in both the second and last stage of the Tour de Langkawi (2.HC) this past week. So far this season, the 27-year-old American has notched three wins in his first year with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team, and it’s only March.
“The last stage was a great day and everyone on the team had a stellar performance,” McCabe said. “Greg Henderson took great care of me and delivered me beautifully to 250 meters. Then he allowed me open it up and I held it to the line.”
McCabe also stepped up to the Langkawi podium to claim third on stage 5 and second on the penultimate stage.
The Malaysian eight-day race, held from February 22 to March 1, featured a range of undulating stage profiles – some relatively flat and some not – creating opportunities for the UnitedHeathcare Pro Cycling team to flex its muscles the entire week.
The first chance for Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling presented itself on the opening 124km stage. Predicted to be a sprint finish, the team’s plan was to be in front with 3 km to go to lead it out for McCabe, who finished in 5th place.
“At 400 m to go we still had everything under control,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Director Hendrik Redant said. “McCabe got a bit nervous at the end and started sprinting a bit too soon, so he made it possible for others to come by him.”
At 208 km, stage two was the longest at the Tour de Langkawi, including a category 1 climb and a category 3 at 30 km before the finish.
Redant said the team’s plan was to see how the break would form. Since they had a strong team that could control the race, there was no rush to put riders in the break.
“The only demand was that our GC prospect Daniel Jaramillo would react if someone would attack on the Cat 1 climb,” Redant said.
Everything came back together in the remaining few kilometers and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling took control, delivering McCabe to his first victory of the race.
Warm weather and a relatively short race met the riders at the start of stage 3, which saw a break escape early on. Dimension Data took control of the race, taking the pressure off of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling.
“The team worked well again, but we had different circumstances and the headwind was a challenge,” Redant said. “The boys worked well again and our blue train was there, but due to the wind some of our riders swerved around McCabe who finished in 6th place. It was a good result and I was happy to see a strong team.”
Perhaps the biggest test of the Tour de Lankawi came on stage 4, the “queen stage” of the race. It was the team’s directive to protect Jaramillo and place him in a good position before the first and second category climbs.
At the end of the stage, Jaramillo stayed with the race favorites and finished in 9th place, keeping him in 7th place on general classification.
The fifth stage of the race saw the team set up McCabe in the right position to take third place, his second podium at the Tour de Langkawi.
Team captain and veteran World Tour rider Greg Henderson shot into the break on the penultimate stage and his efforts were rewarded with the most combative jersey at the end of the day. McCabe claimed another stellar result with a second place.
“Dimension Data controlled the whole day and it all came together with 12 km to go.
So it was all again about the sprint. Our blue train did awesome work and we put Travis McCabe in the spot he wanted to be. This time he was beaten by a faster rider and finished in second place. No one to blame, the team worked very well. You win some, you lose some.”
Heading into the last stage, climber and GC rider Daniel Jaramillo was sitting in 6th place overall, 34 seconds down. While a stage win for McCabe was still the top priority, the team also helped Jaramillo claim some precious bonus seconds mid-stage that bumped him up to an outstanding fourth place.
“We saw a great teamwork this week,” Redant said. “Everyone worked hard to keep the race under control so we could place our sprinter in the right position. Henderson took care of the last pull to the line and Travis finished it off perfectly. It was a great ride from all the boys.”
The men’s team has a few weeks rest before heading to the Tour of Taiwan, to be held March 26-30. Next on the calendar for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling women’s team is Tour of the Southern Highlands (March 3-6), held in Georgia, USA.