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“I was a bit nervous today. I was counting down the kilometers and I was relieved when I saw the 3km to go mark. This is my first stage race victory since 2012. It’s been a long time."

Photo: Stiehl Photography

ANDREA GUARDINI

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ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE

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JESPER HANSEN

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MATTHEW GOSS

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MICHAEL KOLAR

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MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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ONE PRO CYCLING

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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ROTH-SKODA

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING

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02.03.2016 @ 21:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Andrea Guardini (Astana) will again leave Malaysia with four stage wins in his pocket after he came out on top in the bunch sprint that decided the 8th and final stage of the race. In another hugely close battle, he narrowly held off compatriot Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) while Shiki Kuroeda (Aisan) was a surprise third. Reinardt van Rensburg (Dimension Data) rolled across the line in 12th to secure overall victory ahead of the Colombian pair of Daniel Jaramillo (Unitedhealthcare) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Reinardt van Rensburg: It was time for me to win a stage race again

This morning it was only a flat 119km stage to Melaka that stood between Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and defending the overall race victory from last year. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg had an 11 second buffer over Daniel Jaramillo (United Healthcare) at the stage start, which he then extended by 3 seconds after winning the first intermediate sprint of today's stage at kilometer 16.

 

“It was just to get an extra cushion in case something happens in the end,” Janse van Rensburg said. “It was not a focus before the stage but when it was together I saw an opportunity to go for the seconds and I took it.”

 

Once again the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka boys were fantastic in protecting Janse van Rensburg during the final nervy sprint finish. Adrien Niyonshuti, Songezo Jim, Johann van Zyl, Nicolas Dougall and Jaco Venter never left the race leader’ss side and with 5km to go, the team placed Janse van Rensburg in the safest position possible, the front of the peloton. 

 

Going under the final kilometer banner, the sprint opened up with a big fight for position. Janse van Rensburg chose to follow the wheels of the front runners but did not get involved in the chaos to ensure the Tour de Langkawi yellow jersey will stay with Africa's Team for another year.

 

”I am super happy to finally get a big victory again,” he said. “It is my first tour victory since 2012 and first victory since 2013. But, I need to thank all of my team for working day in, day out for me and making sure I was protected. I really couldn't have done it without them. Now I am really looking forward to starting my European campaign in Tirreno, Milan-Sanremo and the rest of the classics.

 

“I was a bit nervous today. I was counting down the kilometers and I was relieved when I saw the 3km to go mark. This is my first stage race victory since 2012 [when he joined the World Tour, firstly with Argos-Shimano]. It’s been a long time. I’m happy with this breakthrough victory. I hope this is a good sign for the future, and only the start of a very successful season going forwards. This is definitely the biggest win of my career. It’s a UCI H.C. race, a very important one, so it’s a really big ranking with a lot of points. It’s a good race with a good organization. I wasn’t sure to come here. I was initially a replacement rider but we came here as defending champions and we’re delighted we’ve made it again.

 

 

 

“I was really relieved with a few k to go with no bad luck, so I was really happy to get over the line. I was a replacement. The team put me in. And finally I got the overall victory.

 

“I am looking forward to doing it [the Tour de France] again. It’s going to be pretty tight. We have really some big names in the team, but I hope there is space for me. Results like this help.

 

“We have a really big sprinter with Cavendish there. So it depends on who he wants in his lead-out. But I think I am one of the guys that can really stand out in his lead-out.

 

“These are the prime years coming,” he said. “I have a long career ahead of me. But it’s the time of your career when you have to start performing. Hopefully it continues now.”

 

Sports director Jens Zemke added:
 

“What can I say, this is a great feeling. It is the first time in the history of the race that a team could defend the victory. For Reinardt it is great because his last win was in 2013, so it nice for him to get his confidence back and get him back on track to being a race winner.

 

”I must say without this strong team he would not have achieved the win. We had 5 very committed and very strong guys working all out for him. Riding on the front all day, closing gaps and fixing difficult situations so a big compliment to the complete team. Also, a big thanks must go to our hard working staff here in Langkawi.

 

”The Tour de Langkawi is a fantastic race, it is very well organised with so many spectators and a lot of passion is shown for bicycle racing here. It is the biggest race in Asia and this is a big win for our team, which we are very happy with.”

 

Andrea Guardini: It would have been hard to do better than this

“I’m happy to win here again in Melaka,” Guardini said. “I remember very well when I first did it in 2012. I knew there was a head wind to finish but I sprinted with a good timing. It would have been hard to get better results than four stage wins in eight days of racing. The fights for sprinting have all been highly competitive.”

 

“The last three kilometres are a bit complicated. There are a lot of turns, left and right. There was a bit of a fight to get to the front. I knew there was a headwind in the finish line and that there was a lot of space to pass. I waited for my sprint.

 

"Fortunately I sprinted really well to hold off Jakub. The sprint from behind was coming up fast.”

 

“Unfortunately, we lost our rider Tleubayev on the first stage. Thus we had two leaders and only three guys to support them. It was not easy to control the race during these eight stages. But we did it,” explained Astana sports director Dmitri Sedoun after the eighth stage.

 

“I think, we did  a very good job, Astana totally dominated the race.”

 

Astana Pro Team finished on the podium of Tour de Langkawi with 5 of 8 stage victories, third place for Miguel Angel Lopez in the overall standings and Guardini’s green jersey as winner of the points classification.

 

Unitedhealtcare win teams classification and take second in Langkawi

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team came away from Le Tour de Langkawi with the Team General Classification win, and a second place overall for Daniel Jaramillo after eight days of tough racing through Malaysia. Working strongly and cohesively together, the team defended the position of Jaramillo over the last three days of racing to ensure the Colombian rider maintained his position on the podium.

 

A short final stage leading into the city of Melaka was the scene for some fierce racing, as the peloton split on multiple occasions. With time bonuses awarded at the intermediate sprint points, Jaramillo could not afford to concede even one second to third place rider and fellow Colombian Miguel Lopez. The team rode at the front of the pack for the majority of the day to protect their GC rider, and succeeded to taking him across the line ahead of Lopez.

 

In a final sprint that was controlled by the Astana team, John Murphy moved through the pack to take sixth place on the stage. Jaramillo, Jonny Clarke and Jani Brajkovic came in just behind the lead group, helping to defend UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s lead in the Team General Classification. The squad rode beyond all expectations to beat many WorldTour teams in claiming their win, reinforcing the strength they are carrying into the 2016 season.

 

Hendrick Redant accepted the trophy for Team General Classification win alongside the six riders of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The Sporting Director was full of praise for his riders, “An awesome effort by everyone. We had an amazing week here in Malaysia, and came away with a stage win, as well as the Team Classification prize. I’m really happy with the team.”

 

Alongside the victories, the riders of the UnitedHealthcare Team were also awarded the Most Aggressive Rider prize twice during the race, showing the fortitude and tenacity with which the team tackled the entire event.

 

The squad now travels on to The Tour de Taiwan, where Mike Tamayo will resume Sporting Director duties for the five-stage UCI 2.1 race that starts in Taipei on Sunday March 6th.

 

Young Tinkoff team leave Langkawi with fifth place for Jesper Hansen

Tinkoff’s young sprinter, Michael Kolar, raced to fourth place on the final stage of the 2016 Tour de Langkawi, while teammate Jesper Hansen held onto his fifth place on GC completing a race where the team made its mark on every stage.

 

“We knew today was going to be a fast stage so we wanted to stay in control and ride for Jesper as well as the sprint at the end with Michael Kolar,” explained Sport Director Jan Valach. “At the first intermediate sprint Jesper missed out on bonus seconds, but 6th place  moved onto the same time as him, so we had to be careful and monitor the situation carefully.”

 

The race got off to a fast start with the stage coming to a climax on a short finishing city centre circuit around Melaka but nothing got clear until after the first sprint. After 60km three riders jumped clear and built a lead over just over five minutes but they never looked like staying clear as a bunch sprint loomed.

 

“The peloton was working well to control the break and we stayed quiet in the wheels waiting for the last three city circuits,” Valach continued. “The team came to the front on these finish laps to close the gap and start to prepare the sprint and this worked well with a good sprint train at the finish. Erik Baška was the last guy to bring Michael Kolar into position and he dropped him off at the front before Michael did another good sprint to take fourth.


“I must say that every day the riders have race well, getting the job done to either ride for the sprints, set up the climb on stage 4 or to protect Jesper's GC lead. We had a young team here but they were very well organised, worked and rode well together and will take confidence from this race into the season now. Fifth place is a good result here for Jesper and although we didn’t get the stage win we were after, our consistency showed that we rode well all race.”

 

Matthew Goss takes first top 10 result since joining ONE Pro Cycling

Stage 8 and an exciting race finale saw Matthew Goss claim 9th in the bunch sprint, George Harper finish 6th overall and ONE Pro Cycling take 3rd in the Team Classification.

 

ONE Pro Cycling were getting really organised as they looked to set up Matt Goss for the sprint. With three kilometres to go they the team were lined up on the hip of Dimension Data with James Oram doing a sterling job, however a lull in the peloton saw the team get swamped, a quick change to the opposite side of the road and once again ONE Pro Cycling come back towards the front. Heading into the final kilometre it was Karol Domagalski on the front driving the bunch, with Matt Goss sitting in 5th position.

 

With the sprint opening up with around 300 metres to go, the riders were lined across the road with everyone hunting for the final stage win. Guardini of Astana was once again the stage winner with Matt Goss crossing the line in 9th. A small split in the peloton unfortunately saw George Harper slip two places on GC down to 6th overall with the team picking up 3rd position in the Team Classification.

 

Overall it was a fantastic result for the team which sees four riders in the top 20 on General Classification. George Harper 6th, John Ebsen 14th, James Oram 17th and Karol Domagalski 17th.

 

Bardiani missed Nicola Ruffoni in the Tour de Langkawi

Bardiani-CSF finished their sixth race of the season, Le Tour de Langkawi. During the eight stages of the race, the #GreenTeam collected seven top ten results plus three top fifteen spots. In the general classification Luca Chirico finished among the best ten riders for the second year in row (9th at 29” from GC winner Van Rensburg) followed by Simone Sterbini (15th at 38”). Bardiani-CSF took second place in the teams classification, only 4” behind United Healthcare.

 

The best result in the 2016 Tour de Langkawi was achieved by Giulio Ciccone (6th in queen stage) and by Paolo Simion (6th in stage 7). Without sprint leader Nicola Ruffoni, who withdrew during stage 4, Simion was the most competitive riders of the team in the seven sprint finishes of the race (five top ten and two top fifteen).

 

“It was not easy to stand out in a race with seven bunch kicks and only one selective stage, but the riders’ approach has been more than satisfying,” said team director Stefano Zanatta. “I saw a gutsy team with a lot of wish to do well. Every day we fought for a good result, as for example Simion in the fierce sprints competition and Chirico who deserved the GC top 10 with the intermediate sprint time bonus. Tour de Langkawi has been a positive experience and a good chance to grow for everyone.”

 

Former Vuelta stage winner achieves first top 10 result for Brazilian pro team

In his fifth participation in international competitions in 2016, the Brazilian team Funvic Soul Cycles & Carrefour, São José dos Campos, got their best result in the overall standings with Antonio Piedra.

The Spanish rider was 10th among the 121 athletes who completed the race, winning 35 points for the UCI America Tour ranking.

 

"It was a good result for our team, because we scored points in the professional peloton [for the America Tour ranking] and it also marked my debut at the Pro Continental level as a coach. We know it will be a long road going forward to get good results, but we also know that we are on track," said Francisco Manzo, coach of Funvic.

 

The other riders from Team São José dos Campos finished in different positions, but they all ended the 2016 edition of the Tour de Langkawi. Now the team begins a long journey to return to Brazil and Spain, where they will continue the training for the upcoming challenges of the season.

 

Swiss sprinter continue breakthrough season with solid showing in Langkawi

The long trip to Malaysia was worth while for the six young Swiss professional cyclists of Team Roth: Especially Dylan Page could show his best in the eight-day Tour de Langkawi (UCI Category 2.HC). After a remarkable 5th place in the 1st stage, his teammates Colin Stüssi and Roland Thalmann prepared well the sprint of the 6th stage and helped Dylan Page to climb the podium. With his 3rd place he earned 5 UCI
points.

 

But not everything went as desired: In the 2nd and the 7th stage Dylan Page was involved in crashes, luckily with no serious injuries. Lukas Jaun was not as lucky. During the preparation of the first stage’s sprint, a careless rider rode into his rear wheel. Jaun suffered abrasions all over his body. Still, he only gave up in the 6th stage, as the pain was getting worse.
 

The Tour de Langkawi was won by the South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data). As 20th, Valentin Baillifard was the best rider of Team Roth and earned himself 5 UCI points.

 

First Malaysian winner of Asian classification in Langkawi

For the first time, a Malaysian won the best Asian rider classification even though two splits in the bunch reduced Adiq Hussainie Othman’s advantage to Masakazu Ito to two seconds.

 

“It’s not much but enough to bring the white jersey home and I’m very happy with that”, Adiq explained. “This jersey isn’t only mine, it belongs to the whole team who helped me defend it since stage 4. I’ve worked to lose weight and climb better, now I hope to keep the momentum for the numerous races to come on the Asia Tour.”

 

A second mountains jersey for Chinese rider in Langkawi

China’s Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang won the King of the Mountains for the second time after 2013.

 

“As a team, we’re thankful to the organizers to have allowed us to ride aggressively during the whole week”, the attacker from the Shandong province said.

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