photo credit @ Tour de Langkawi
Andrea Guardini’s (Astana) claimed the opening stage of this year’s Tour de Langkawi today, after beating Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEdge) in a sprint finish to take charge of the leader’s jersey.
After attaching himself to Evans’ wheel in the closing 200 meters, the Italian rider managed to out pace the young Australian rider to the line.
“It’s a special race for me because it comes in a good period after a few races – Dubai, Qatar, and Oman so I always have good legs,” said Guardini after the stage.
“I’m really happy to win the first stage. The team is so strong and I’m in a good shape for winning. We worked really well and we are here to win more.”
“Caleb is a strong rider and he has a really strong team for lead-out in the sprint,” said Guardini. “We don’t have the same powerful team for the final but we have a good rider to stay at the front and catch the breakaway. One sprint is always different to the other but we try to take the best wheel day by day. Today it was for sure the train of Caleb Ewan, tomorrow it may be another train – we’ll see.”
Today’s race saw soaring temperatures that hit 95 degrees, but according to Guardini, he thrives in such heat.
“I say that I’m really good in the heat, and today I didn’t suffer a lot. For sure I come here with good shape and this comes after a really good winter and now I’m taking the results of all my work in the winter.”
A six-man breakaway group containing Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthCare), Simone Andreetta (Bardiani-CSF), Adiq Husaini Othman (Terengganu), Guangtong Ma (hengxiang), Meher Hasnaoui (Skydive Dubai) and Liam Bertazzo (Southeast), got underway from the outset of today’s race.
Reijnen was the first rider over each of the three category 4 climbs of the race, subsequently snatching the maximum king of the mountains points and securing the red jersey.
Meanwhile, Bertazzo dominated the three intermediate sprints in similar fashion – taking the blue points jersey.
At one point, the escapees had built up a 2 minute advantage over the peloton. However, their gap started to fall during the remaining 20 kilometers.
As a result, Bertazzo decided to attack his breakaway companions, only to see his move countered by Hasnaoui and Reijnen.
From there, Rejnen, attempted to but other move of his own – inside the closing 4 kilometers. However, his efforts proved to be insufficient to secure the victory.
“When the stage started I just went for the KOM jersey but I didn’t think we had a very good chance for the stage,” he said. “Towards the end I saw the opportunity to go and in this race if you have the opportunity you take it. Astana and GreenEdge wanted the sprint so it was always going to be touch and go, but I gave it a good try and I’ll try again.”
photo credit @ Twitter
Stage 1 Results
ITA 1 GUARDINI, Andrea (ASTANA) 2:19:06
AUS 2 EWAN, Caleb (ORICA GreenEDGE)
MAS 3 MANAN, Anuar (TERENGGANU)
ITA 4 DAL COL, Andrea (SOUTHEAST)
FRA 5 FEILLU, Romain (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
TUR 6 ORKEN, Ahmet (TORKU SEKERSPOR)
ALG 7 REGUIGUI, Youcef (MTN – QHUBEKA)
RUS 8 TRUSOV, Nikolay (TINKOFF – SAXO)
ITA 9 CHICCHI, Francesco (ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI)
USA 10 HANSON, Ken (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
General Classification after Stage 1
ITA 1 GUARDINI, Andrea (ASTANA) 2:18:56
ITA 2 BERTAZZO, Liam (SOUTHEAST) + 1
AUS 3 EWAN, Caleb (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 4
CHN 4 GUANGTONG, Ma (HENGXIANG CYCLING TEAM) + 5
MAS 5 MANAN, Anuar (TERENGGANU) + 6
MAS 6 OTHMAN, Afiq Huznie (NATIONAL SPORT COUNCIL OF MALAYSIA) + 7
USA 7 REIJNEN, Kiel (UNITEDHEALTHCARE) + 9
ITA 8 DAL COL, Andrea (SOUTHEAST) + 10
FRA 9 FEILLU, Romain (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
TUR 10 ORKEN, Ahmet (TORKU SEKERSPOR)
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