Feb 24, 2013


The start at Tapah

Riders going for break

Andrea Guardini wears the Blue jersey

Wong Meiyin still in Yellow

Chicchi takes the stage!

KAPAR, Sunday 24 February 2013 - After settling for two eighth place finishes earlier Vini Fantini-Selle Italia's Francesco Chicchi showed what he was capable of when he surged ahead in a bunch sprint to win Stage 4 of Le Tour de Langkawi 2013 here today.

Camaiore, Italy-born Chicchi, 33, managed to pip Astana's Andrea Guardini and Orica-GreenEdge's Aidis Kroupis in the bunch sprint to cross the finish line in 3 hours 44 minutes and 22 seconds.

This was the first win for Chicchi with his new team Vini Fantini, after moving there from Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

However, Guardini, the LTdL record stage winner with 11 wins to date, gathered 14 points of the day to bring his points classification total to 41 and wrested the Proton blue jersey from Hengxiang's Wang Meiyin.

Meiyin, who created history on the Cameron Highlands stage on Day 3 by sweeping all four leaders' jerseys on offer, still remained as the leader of the overall general classification, the mountains and Asian riders' classification.

"After three hard days, including helping my team's climber Jonathan Monsalve in the Cameron Highlands stage, today I made a decision to try and win this stage," said Chicchi.

"I was behind Guardini when we entered the last 200 metres and managed to overtake him in the final stages. This is my first win in Le Tour de Langkawi and I'm very happy with it because this is a big race," added Chicchi.

"I was amazed to see so many people all along the route, supporting this cycling race and it gave me a lot of motivation to win." Chicchi was the under-23 world road champion in 2002. 

In the 168 kilometre stage that began in Tapah, Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Taiji Nishitani (Aisan) and Puchong Sai-udomsin (OCBC Singapore) made an early breakaway that saw them sweep the top three places in all three intermediate sprints at Teluk Intan, Sungai Besar and Kuala Selangor before being caught by the peloton with 3km to go.

Guardini admitted he was happy with gaining the blue jersey but will not be satisfied until he registers a victory in the race this time around with his new team Astana.

"My priority is still to wina stage but I realise the competition this time is very tough with so many good sprinters in the picture. But we still have some opportunities with many flat stages coming after Genting Highlands," said Guardini.

Stage 5 from Proton Shah Alam to Genting Highlands tomorrow will cover a 108km route that is the toughest stage in LTdL which will see the main contenders for the yellow jersey come forward.

The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1469.7 kilometres. 

The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

No comments:

Post a Comment