Schlagwort-Archiv: Andrea Palini


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PARIT SULONG – Astana’s Andrea Guardini claimed his 21st victory at Le Tour de Langkawi in stage 7 of the 21st edition of the event. The Italian outsprinted his compatriots Jakub Mareczko of Southeast and Andrea Palini from Skydive Dubai in a tight finish at Parit Sulong where Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) retained the overall lead on the eve of the grand finale in the historical city of Melaka.

The longest stage of this year’s race happened to be more eventful than anyone expected it to be. Juraj Sagan of Tinkoff was all fired up after finishing second in stage 6. He initiated a front group of six riders with Tanner Putt (Unitedhealthcare), Karol Domagalski (One Pro Cycling), Ma Guangtong (Hengxiang), Laurens De Vreese (Astana) and Meher Hasnaoui (Skydive Dubai). Former leader Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana who was avid of taking his revenge after losing the yellow jersey because of a mechanical rode flat out in the first hill of the day. He crested Bukit Miku (km 28) in first position with the aim of taking time bonus at the intermediate sprint in Johol (km 46) but Janse van Rensburg also made the front group of 25 riders that was formed after catching the initial attackers.

Six riders went clear before Johol, most of them for the second time of the day: De Vreese, Sagan, Putt, Domagalski, Gong Hyo Suk (KSPO) and Agung Sahbana (Pegasus). Several attacks occurred in that front group and at the head of the peloton led all day by Dimension Data. The maximum lead was 5.20 at km 145 when De Vreese, Putt and Gong were the remaining breakaway riders, rejoined by then by a Chinese duo from Hengxiang with Ma and Zheng Zhang. For most of the stage, De Vreese who was 2.05 adrift on GC was the virtual leader of Le Tour de Langkawi but Janse van Rensburg never panicked.

De Vreese was the last man to surrender with 5km to go, which gave a free ride to Astana’s sprinter Guardini who leapfrogged Mareczko in the last 50 metres. “After what happened yesterday, it’s normal that Miguel Angel was a bit angry but that’s cycling”, the Italian explained. “Astana had such a good tactic today with a strong rider [De Vreese] in the breakaway. Nobody wanted to pull strongly in the finale but it turned out to being a bunch sprint and it was a very good one for me. With 200m to go, I passed in a very small gap between two other riders but a bit of luck is always needed for winning a bunch sprint. To reach 21 victories at Le Tour de Langkawi is really amazing. It’s never simple to win.”



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KUALA LUMPUR -Andrea Guardini became the first rider to reach the number of 20 stage victories at Le Tour de Langkawi – out of 37 in total in his six-year long pro career at the age of 26 – as he claimed the sprinters’ queen stage at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, making it four out of four on the race’s most prestigious venue. Coming third while stage 2 winner Andrea Palini finished second, South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg who is second overall to Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez diminished his deficit from 29 to 23 seconds with three stages remaining.

It took 63 kilometres for the breakaway of the day to take shape. Beforehand, Guardini had to go for the first intermediate sprint against Janse van Rensburg to protect the overall lead of his team-mate Lopez. The Dimension Data fast man took two seconds there but sustained a flat tyre 2km before the second intermediate sprint, so Guardini could give way to the riders fighting for fifth place overall. Bardiani’s Luca Chirico and Jesper Hansen captured three and two seconds bonus respectively. Then it was time for breaking away.

Racing for the King of the Mountains competition, Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang) rode on the offensive again, and once again with Loh Sea Keong who was accompanied by another rider from Malaysia national team Aiman. Amirul Mazuki (Terengganu) and Kim Hyeonseok (KSPO) were the other members of the move before Carlos Manarelli (Funvic) rejoined them to compose a six-man front group. They had a maximum advantage of 3.20 at km 77.

In the finale, John Ebsen and Richard Handley, both from One Pro Cycling, came across to the two remaining leaders Loh and Amirul. They got reined in nearby the famous twin towers of Kuala Lumpur.

The inevitable bunch sprint was easily won by Guardini. “It’s a wonderful day for me and a perfect fourth win here on my favourite finishing line of Le Tour de Langkawi”, the Italian declared. “Every time I come to Kuala Lumpur, I win, it’s fantastic. With 20km to go, my mind was all set on this finish location. I could feel a lot of adrenaline in the run in. I knew exactly where I needed to pass my adversaries to outsprint them. We took control of the race and I had a really good sprint.”



GEORGETOWN, PENANG – Andrea Palini of Skydive Dubai outsprinted Astana’s Andrea Guardini on the finishing line in Georgetown on the occasion of an unprecedented stage finishing in Penang via the 24km long second bridge and the 5km long Teluk Bahang hill.

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China’s Wang Meiyin missed out on taking the yellow jersey from Guardini after another breakaway that saw him accumulating points for the King of the Mountains and the points classification he now leads.

After 22km of racing, the Hengxiang versatile rider found the way to escape along with Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia national team), Sofian Nabil (NSC), Gong Hyo Suk (KSPO) and Jamilidin Navardianto (Pegasus). They got a maximum advantage of 4.15 at km 50. As Wang won all three intermediate sprints, he collected nine seconds of time bonus, which put him in a virtual position of race leader with the perspective of taking the yellow jersey, shall Guardini not be the stage winner.

Astana pulled the bunch but didn’t catch the remaining three breakaway riders, Wang, Loh and Nabil, before the summit of Teluk Bahang with 30km to go. It was eventually all together 11km before the end of the race. All elements that make a good bike race were combined in one day as the wind played a key role in the finale after the climbs and the Penang bridge in a very spectacular environment.

“I didn’t expect to win”, Palini explained in a post-race press conference. “I was hoping for scoring points but I didn’t think I could beat Guardini. However, I was fresher than him after the last climb. That made the difference. I’m very happy. To win here is very important. It already makes my Tour de Langkawi a successful one.”

Guardini caught the occasion to underline how difficult it is to win a race, even for a sprinter of his caliber. “I said this morning again that it’s never simple to win”, he commented. “Palini showed today that he’s a more complete rider than me. He passed the hill better than me. I rode flat out to stay with the main peloton and it took out of me the energy I needed for winning the bunch sprint.”

It was a tight finish though. Bardiani-CSF’s Nicola Ruffoni crashed behind the leading trio of sprinters, South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg being third on the line. The fast finale prevented Wang from getting the same time as Palini, so he missed out on the yellow jersey. “But my main goal is the King of Mountains jersey”, the Chinese rider explained. “That’s why I rode away again.”

Malaysia’s Loh Sea Keong was awarded the price of most combative rider as he also took part in the breakaway for the second straight day. “My career was in a dilemma after I finished the Tour de Korea in June”, the Kelantanese explained. “I was struggling with a lot of things in my life. I decided to take a break from cycling but in November, I went to Thailand to train for making a come-back. Here I am, happy to race offensively for Malaysia again. Today it was the most valuable stage I’ve experienced in ten years of taking part in Le Tour de Langkawi. Riding in to Penang was incredibly spectacular, so was the run in to the finish when we came down to the coast from the last hill. It was a challenging route. I was thrilled to be part of the breakaway until very close to the finish.”

Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sport YB Khairy Jamaluddin was in attendance. A dedicated cyclist himself, he enjoyed what will remain a memorable stage in the 20-year long history of Le Tour de Langkawi.

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