Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guardini Makes It 18 Stage Wins As Reguigui Conquers 20th Edition Of Le Tour De Langkawi

KUALA LUMPUR: Astana's Andrea Guardini added another victory to his collection after ending the 20th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) the same way he started it, with a win in a bunch sprint ahead of Orica GreenEdge's Caleb Ewan n the final stage from Kuala Kubu Bharu to Kuala Lumpur today.

It was Guardini's 18th ever LTdL stage win, coming on a day when MTN-Qhubeka's Youcef Reguigui confirmed his first ever overal victory as a professional as he emerged with the yellow jersey he won on the decisive Stage 7 yesterday.  

When he tried hard to stop Ewan and tghird placed Michael Kolar of Tinkoff-Saxo in the final sprint, Guardini, who lost three teammates to food poisoning a day earlier had to sprint early with 200 metres to go and completed the stage in a time of 2:00.27s.

The final stage saw Reguigui crowned as the overall winner of LTdL 2015 after the Algerian sprinter chose not to take too many risks in challenging Guardini and Ewan as he did in the earlier stages and finish 10th on the day.
Reguigui clocked a total time of 28 hours 12 minutes and 04 seconds to emerge the overall winner over the eight stages contested this time around. He finished 9 seconds ahead of Astana's Valerio Agnoli and 10 seconds ahead of third placed Sebastian Henao.

The red jersey for the mountains classification remained in the hands of United Healthcare's Kiel Reijnen, who took charge of the lead from the first stage in Langkawi and brought it to the finish to be crowned the king of the mountains of this edition.

The Asian riders classification was won by Japan's Tomihiro Hayakawa of Aisan Racing Team.
The surprise of this edition was the rise of Indonesia's Pegasus Cycling Team, who bagged both the Asian and overall teams classification title.

Guardini thanked his two remaining teammates - Agnoli and Maxat Ayazbayev - for the effort they put in for him to bag his fourth win of this edition.

"It was tough by this was a race that I wanted to win and I also wanted to help Agnoli get second place in the general classification and we achieved both," said Guardini.

"I knew what to expect in this final stage. It is a win that is special and I hope this will give a good year for my career." Guardini, as he did in the opening stage in Langkawi, repeated his win in the final stage in his debut year with Farnese-Vini in 2011.

Asked if he would return next year, Guardini who's contract with Astana expires at the end of the year, hoped he could return to the race, but wasn't sure of the team he would represent next.

Reguigui, for whom this is the biggest ever win in his professional career, admitted he had just started his pre-season training before coming to Malaysia and took a bit of time to acclimatise before showing his true colours when he won Stage 7 from Shah Alam to Frasers Hill.

"I would like to congratulate all my teammates and I am happy with this yellow jersey although it was supposed to be Natnael Berhane who took it in Frasers Hill," said Reguigui, 25.

"In this final stage, my team controlled the pace from the beginning until the final two laps of the circuit before leaving it to Astana and Orica GreenEdge. I wanted to challenge in the sprint, but I didn't want to take any risks."

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