MELAKA – Andrea Guardini of Astana made it four as he also won the conclusive stage of the 2016 Le Tour de Langkawi in the middle of the historical attractions of Melaka while South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg of Dimension Data took the overall classification of the 21st edition of Asia’s premier stage race.
A major event in stage 8 starting from Batu Pahat was the first intermediate sprint at Semerah, km 16. The winner was no less than yellow jersey wearer Janse van Rensburg. Interestingly, veteran climber Francisco Mancebo of Skydive Dubai was second, which enabled him to enter the top 5 overall while Luca Chirico of Bardiani-CSF moved up to the top 10 thanks to his third place at that point of the race.
A breakaway finally took shape after 40km of racing, involving Seo Joo Yong (KSPO), Chiu Ho San (HKSI) and Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia). As the peloton didn’t react, their lead increased to 5.20 only 15km further. Teams Drapac, Astana and Dimension Data combined forces to set the pace of the peloton in order to catch the escapees on time for another conclusive bunch gallop. It was all together with ten kilometers to go.
Melaka’s famous and tiny street Jonker Walk made the fight for positions more complicated than usual, Guardini noted. The Italian commented: “I’m happy to win here again in Melaka. I remember very well when I first did it in 2012. I knew there was a head wind to finish but I sprinted with a good timing. It would have been hard to get better results than four stage wins in eight days of racing. The fights for sprinting have all been highly competitive.”
As he won four stages like last year, Guardini reached the exceptional total of 22 stage victories in six straight participations to Le Tour de Langkawi, a race in which he’s now the iconic rider.