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"I then had a good lead-out and I took a good risk, then the job was done. For the moment, this is a good result. But for now, I think I can do more than this."

Photo: Le Tour de Langkawi 2015

ANDREA GUARDINI

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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12.03.2015 @ 01:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One day after losing the leader’s jersery, Andrea Guardini (Astana) was back in flatter terrain on stage 4 of the Tour de Langkawi and by winning the bunch sprint he confirmed his status as the fastest rider in the race. The Italian beat his compatriot Jakob Mareczko (Southeast) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) who defended his overall lead.

 

Having dominated the bunch sprints in the first two days of the Tour de Langkawi, Andrea Guardini took a beating yesterday when Orica-GreenEDGE managed to distance him on an early climb before delivering their fast man Caleb Ewan to a sprint win. Having rolled across the line 24 minutes adrift, the Italian is out of the battle for the overall and so he lined up for today’s flat fourth stage determined to get his revenge.

 

Going into the stage with a record 16 stage wins in the Malaysian race on his palmares, Guardini has been very hard to beat in Asia’s biggest bike race and it seems that nothing is different in 2015. When the race again came down to the expected bunch sprint, the Italian again turned out to be the fastest.

 

For the first time in this year’s race, Ewan wasn’t his nearest challenger. Instead, it was the highly talented Jakub Marezcko who is growing into a top sprinter under the tutelage of Alessandro Petacchi at the Southeast team while Ewan had to settle for third.

 

"I am happy with the way the sprint went. I managed a really good sprint to take this win. Today was a really fast paced stage with the speed in the earlier part already very high at 50 to 60 kp/h," said Guardini.

 

"I then had a good lead-out and I took a good risk, then the job was done. For the moment, this is a good result. But for now, I think I can do more than this.

 

“Maybe on paper I’m faster than him [Ewan] but on the road every stage is different. He’s strong in all the other parcours, not only the flat stages.”

 

"When you work and you understand that we have a strong sprinter, you give everything," his teammate Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev said.

 

Kozhatayev with teammate Maxat Ayazbayev spent most of the stage at the front of the peloton, chasing the breakaway to bring Andrea Guardini to an expected sprint finish.

 

Kozhatayev crashed twice in the first two stages of the Tour de Langkawi and has suffered with abrasions and sore muscles every day. At night it is difficult to sleep and each turn of the pedals is painful and difficult. With strength and patience he has slowly recovered each day, and in stage four rode at the front to bring Guardini in for the sprint.

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