The 25th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi has a new race leader in 30-year-old Italian Danilo Celano (Team Sapura Cycling), who crossed the line 10 seconds behind Stage 4 winner Kevin Rivera (Androni Giocatto-Sidermec).

Despite making history as the first Costa Rican a win a stage at LTdL (UCI 2.Pro) with a summit victory under wet, foggy conditions, a disastrous start to the eight-stage UCI Asia Tour race cost the 21-year-old the yellow jersey and a potential general classification win.

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The 2019 Sibiu Cycling Tour champion opted not to start the pre-race criterium in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday due to poor health prior to the event, and lost significant time — more than 12 minutes — in the 85.6-kilometre opening stage on Friday.

Even with Monday’s victory atop the Genting Highlands, Rivera is still 10 minutes 36 seconds in arrears of the race runner-up from Androni.

“I started the tour very badly with illness,” said Rivera following the finish of the 156.1km queen stage from Putrajaya. “But I recovered and I saved energy for today’s stage. It’s a beautiful win because it’s a very hard climb. The remaining stages are for the sprinters so I’ll help my teammates as much as they helped me today.”

Stage 1 winner and previous race leader Yevgeniy Federov (Vino-Astana Motors) drops to second on GC, 30 seconds off Celano with only four predominantly sprint stages remaining.

“I’m very happy with this jersey,” said Celano. “The whole team, the staff, put in great effort to make this happen. In the race, [teammate Nur Aiman Zariff] was in the breakaway to take the red jersey. For both jerseys it has been a great team effort.

“We hope to keep the yellow jersey until the end as we started LTdL with this goal.”

Stage 3 winner Max Walscheid (NTT Pro Cycling), who also won the criterium, remains points leader despite Stage 2 winner Taj Jones (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) moving into second place after winning all three intermediate sprints on the day.

The race continues with the second longest stage of the tour (165.8 km), a relatively flat stage from Kuala Kuba Baru to Ipoh on Tuesday.

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