Feb 27, 2013


The peloton entering the Dungun, district of Terengganu

Guardini finally gets his win in Dungun, ahead of Chicchi (Vini Fantini) and Kroupis (OGE)

Andrea hounded by the press

the stage winners

The jersey leaders

Astana Team Manager Jaan Kirsipuu celebrates with Andrea

DUNGUN, Wednesday 27 February 2013 - Star sprinter Andrea Guardini finally ended the wait for his first win for his new team Astana in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2013 when he won a bunch sprint to bag Stage 7 from Kuantan to Dungun today.

This win brought Guardini's record of wins in LTdL to 12 and was also Astana's first victory of the year. It came after the disappointment of losing out in the final sprint to Theo Bos (Blanco Pro Cycling) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) in stages before this.

Wearing the sprints classification blue jersey which he took in Stage 4, the victory in Dungun is also the 22nd in 24-year old Guardini's career and also improved his chances of a repeat points classification victory.

Guardini beat Stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi of his former team Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, which was known as Farnese Vini when he recorded his first 11 LTdL victories in 2011 and last year. Orica-GreenEdge's Aidis Kroupis finished third.  

"IT is difficult if I don't win something early in the season. But this year I had to familiarise myself with a new team and new teammates at Astana. I had entered the Tour Down Under and Tour of Qatar without the condition to challenge for wins, but here it was perfect," said Guardini.

"I'm relieved. The challenge is not that easy with so many strong sprinters here. But today, my teammates Assan Bazayev and Ruslan Tleubayev worked hard and rode very fast to find the space and position for me.

"In the final 500 metres, Tleubayev put me on the wheel of Aidis Kroupis and Allan Davis and I made a sprint from the left to overtake them.

"I also knew that Anuar Manan (Synergy-Baku Cycling Project) was getting closer to me in the points classification after he collected points at the intermediate sprints but I focused on the stage win only.

"I'm very happy with the victory and it goes well with the blue jersey," said Guardini, who captured the attention of the world when he won Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia last year.

The yellow jersey remained with Team Nippo-De Rosa's Julian Arredondo (25 hours 55 minutes 05 seconds), who's team worked hard to prevent any major threat to his lead, particularly Orica-GreenEdge's Pieter Weening, who is one minute and 15 seconds adrift in the general classification.

Henxiang Cycling Team's Wang Meiyin remained the leader of the mountains classification wit 48 points, three more than Arredondo, who did not try to attack at the two king of the mountains hot spots at Kijal and Bukit Anak Dara today. Meiyin also remained the leader of the Asian riders' classification.

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).

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