|Chicchi takes the win in Dataran Shahbandar|
|TM Best Malaysian Riders Award - Best Climber Loh Sea Keong, Best Sprinter Anuar Manan, Best Overall Adiq Husainie|
|Winner of the 18th Edition of LTdL Julian Arredondo kisses the Champion's Trophy|
|The jersey winners - KOM Red jersey Wang Meiyin, Sprint Blue jersey Francesco Chicchi, Overall GC Yellow jersey Julian Arredondo|
KUALA TERENGGANU, Saturday 2 March 2013 - The 10th and final stage victory of the 18th edition of LE Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2013 from Tasik Kenyir to Kuala Terengganu saw a dramatic finale with Vini Fantini-Selle Italia's Francesco Chicchi taking his second stage win and stealing the blue jersey from previous holder Andrea Guardini.
Chicchi's victory denied Guardini, who fell sick yesterday and struggled to the finish of the stage, his chance of an historic hattrick of consecutive points classification victories in LTdL.
The biggest success, however, went to Team Nippo-De Rosa's Julian Arredondo who bagged the overall victory and the MTN-Qhubeka team who completed the overall teams victory at the end of the 10-stage 1,467 kilometre race.
Chicchi's tactical planning enabled him to bag the stage win by sprinting earlier ahead of the finish line to collect the 15 points that saw him overake Guardini in the points classification. Guardini failed to place among the top 10 finishers in the stage.
Chicchi, who won Stage 4 of the race from Tapah to Kapar, beat Synergy-Baku's Rico Rogers to the victory, as Blanco Pro Cycling's Greame Brown made it onto the podium with a third place finish.
"I like this race. There is no better start than to be with a new team which is fantastic and win two stages and the points classification," said 32-year old Chicchi who hails from Camiore, Italy.
Arredondo completed the stage in the safety of the peloton to keep his 1 minute and 15 seconds advantage over Orica-GreenEdge's Pieter Weening with a total time of 34 hiours 53 minutes and 07 seconds.
"I am super happy with this result. This is a sweet success for me after going through so many problems with my visa which limited my racing last year to just five or six races," said Arredondo.
"I am with a small team, but we are like family and my teammates stayed close to me especially in tough moments during the last five stages. It is not a matter of whether we are a Pro Tour team or continental. It was the mentality of winning that was important," said Arredondo.
South Africa's MTN-Qhubeka ensured their three top riders remained in the peloton in the final stage to complete the overall teams classification victory with an advantage of 9 minutes over second placed Tabriz Petrochemical of Iran.
Asia also stood tall with Hengxiang Cycling Team's Wang Meiyin from China winning the overall mountains classificatioin along with his white jersey as the best Asian rider, beating riders from Pro Team Astana Alexandr Dyachenko and Andrey Kashechkin, as well as top Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro of Team Europcar.
Malaysia's top finisher yesterday was again sprinter Anuar Manan of the Synergy-Baku Cycling Project who finished sixth, while compatriot Harrif Saleh of the Terengganu Cycling Team finished 10th, ending the race without a Malaysian podium finish.
Anuar however did step on the podium for his third place in the points classification behind Chicchi and Guardini.
"I had worked hard to ensure that I was in good form to produce my best results in this race. My preparation was better than last year but this time the level of competition was very high with so many top sprinters and UCI Pro Team riders," said Anuar.
"I challenged them every day and I believe my performance3s had made an impact on the top riders and they were aware of my capabilities."
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).