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.
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.”
TANAH RATA, CAMERON HIGHLANDS -Astana managed to complete the double task of winning flat and mountain stages with Miguel Angel Lopez reaching Tanah Rata in a brilliant solo effort after Andrea Guardini opened the record book of the 2016 Le Tour de Langkawi in Baling on day 1. With an advantage of 29 seconds over South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg from Dimension Data, the young Colombian has what it takes to become the overall winner of the 21st edition on March 2nd in Melaka.
After a breakaway attempt involving Wang Meiyin (Hangxiang) and Luca Chirico (Bardiani-CSF) that could mean a threat to the favourites, three riders went clear after 24 kilometres of racing: Ho Burr (HKSI), Shiki Kuroeda (Aisan) and Lukas Jaun (Roth). The peloton didn’t react until they reached a maximum advantage of 6.27 at km 45. Three riders formed a counter attack on the way up to the Cameron Highlands with the inevitable Wang being accompanied by Donaben Goh (Terengganu) and Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia). As the trio caught the first escapees, only Ho was able to handle their rhythm.
Das erfolgreichste Team in der Geschichte von Le Tour de Langkawi wird wieder in Aktion in den malaysischen Straßen vom 24. Februar – 2. März sein. Es ist Bardiani CSF, welche nicht weniger als 34 Etappensiege in der Vergangenheit unter den Namen verschiedener Sponsoren (Scrigno, Navigare und Panaria) erreichten. Die zweit erfolgreichste Mannschaft ist Androni mit 24 Etappensiegen.
Neun von ihren Siegen wurden vom australischen Sprinter Graeme Brown erreicht. Die Organisation lief für 35 Jahre von Bruno und Roberto Reverberi, die Vater und Sohn sind und hatten viel zu tun damit Italien mit 69 Etappensiegen führt, während Australien mit nur 26 folgt.
“Seit unserer ersten Reise nach Malaysia im Jahr 1998 Le Tour de Langkawi hatte immer einen besonderen Platz in unserem Herzen”, sagte Roberto, der Mirko Rossato zum ersten Sieg des Teams im Land führte, zwei Tage bevor Alessandro Petacchi seine historischen ersten Sieg in Mersing gewann. Ihren letzten Erfolg auf dem neuesten Stand trat im Jahr 2012 ein, als Marco Canola den Ausreißern davonfuhr, um einen brillanten Solosieg in Kuantan zu gewinnen.
“Letztes Jahr waren wir sehr zufrieden mit der Art und Weise, wie Luca Chirico fuhr um als Siebenter gesamt zu beenden”, sprach Roberto. “Wir hatten mehr Ambitionen mit unserem neuen Sprinter Paolo Simion aber er wurde bei einem Unfall schwer verletzt und konnte Etappe 3 nicht innerhalb des Zeit beenden.”