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“Caleb is a strong rider and he has a really strong team for lead-out in the sprint. 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."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

ANDREA GUARDINI

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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08.03.2015 @ 12:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Andrea Guardini (Astana) continued his love affair with the Tour de Langkawi when the fast Italian won the first stage of Asia’s biggest bike race. In the expected bunch sprint, he beat Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Anuar Manan (Terengganu) and so became the first leader of the 8-day race.

 

In 2011, Andrea Guardini burst onto the professional scene when he won an impressive 5 stages of the Tour de Langkawi, his first race in the pro ranks. One year later he added another 6 wins to his palmares and even though his winning rate has been a bit slower in recent years, he has firmly established himself as the most successful rider in the history of the race.

 

Today Guardini continued his run of success in Malaysia when he won the first stage of the 2015 edition. Guardini won a mass sprint in the short, opening stage on Langkawi island, after teammates Valerio Agnoli and Daniil Fominykh worked all day at the front to control the breakaway.

 

Guardini passed Australian rider Caleb Ewan in the final 200m to win his second race of the 2015 season in front of thousands of local cycling fans.

 

“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. 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.

 

 

“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.

 

"We have learned from the mistakes of last year. We wanted to get the jersey and we did not let the escape get too much of a gap, pulling with Orica before it was too late.

 

"Caleb is very strong and it will be a fight to the end with him while Manan is leaner last year and cannot be underestimated."

 

 

Teammate Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev crashed in the final 2km as the peloton prepared for the sprint. His condition is good, but the team will continue to monitor him for and changes to his health.

 

The Tour de Langkawi moves from Langkawi to mainland Malaysia by boat to continue the 20th edition of the race on Monday.

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