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"It was a great team performance today. Youcef really has a great opportunity to win here. Natnael was in the break and he got 9 seconds in the different sprints up the road."

Photo: MTN Qhubeka

NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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NATNAEL BERHANE

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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YOUCEF REGUIGUI

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10.03.2015 @ 11:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Youcef Reguigui put in a great ride today at the 3rd Tour de Langkawi stage, sprinting to 2nd place just behind Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge). Leonardo Duque (Colombia) claimed 3rd position at the line.

It was a fantastic team performance all round by Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung today as what was expected to be another mass sprint stage turned into a race defining stage. In the early part of today's racing 5 riders went clear of the peloton and Natnael Berhane was representing MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in the move. They escapees built up a lead of 3 minutes by the time the peloton hit the cat 1 climb situated at the 67km mark.

It was on this cat 1 climb that some fireworks began back in the peloton with the African team right at the helm of the action. Over the top of the climb, a select group of 45 riders had formed leaving the peloton and yellow jersey in its wake. With a slight gap and a couple of teams having 3 or 4 riders in the selection, they pushed on in the hope of distancing the peloton.

Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Merhawi Kudus, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Youcef Reguigui all the made the select group and with Berhane up the road the African team helped to drive the big chase group. Berhane 's group was inevitably caught as the gap to the peloton opened up dramatically to more than 10 minutes with only 40km's to race.

After realising the winner would come from the break, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung turned to support Reguigui for the finale as they have over the last 2 stages. In a fast and nail-biting finish, our Algerian was just pipped to the line by less than a wheel length to Ewan. Kudus also snuck into the top 10, securing 9th place. Berhane now moves into 2nd on GC after the bonus seconds he won in the break and Reguigui is up to 3rd overall.

"Today was just a perfect day for our team. The team worked so hard for me right up to the final and I was able to get 2nd place in the sprint. Thank you to all my teammates for such a great job today," Reguigui said.

"It was a great team performance today. Youcef really has a great opportunity to win here. Natnael was in the break and he got 9 seconds in the different sprints up the road. We all felt really good today on the climbs so we are looking forward to stage 7," van Rensburg said.

"Today the boys were really very good," sports director Michel Cornelisse said. "Jacques was in all the first attacks of the day. Then when the group went we had Natnael present, he was able to take most of the primes along the stage today which was very good. On the cat 1 climb the pace went up and our boys were very attentive and active. At one stage we had 5 riders as part of the leading group and this is really important for the team classification. It can also play a role ahead of Saturday's important stage as well. Youcef was able to end of a great day for us by taking 2nd in the stage in a very close sprint. I am really happy with our performance.

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