Cycling / le Tour de langkawi: Fukushima wants blue jersey for keeps
HE missed out on it previously, but this time Shinichi Fukushima believes the blue Asian riders’ jersey in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) might be his until the end after taking it following his part in the successful 19-man breakaway that surprised the race in Stage One yesterday.
The 37-year-old Japanese rider, winner of Stage Seven in LTdL last year, will have to contend with the Skil-Shimano duo of Hidenori Nodera and Tomoya Kano, both previous winners of Malaysia’s other race — Jelajah Malaysia — while Seoul City’s Park Sung Baek could also pose a threat.
Meitan Hompo-GDR rider Fukushima, however, believes the threat of Sung Baek may not be as serious as that posed by the Skil-Shimano riders, but still believes his team are strong enough to maintain their grip on the jersey.
“Today (yesterday) I saw that in the finish I would have to sprint, which would not have given me an advantage of getting the Asian rider’s jersey, so it had to be from bonuses from the intermediate sprints. Before the third sprint I just went for an attack to get the first place in that sprint, and it worked,” said Fukushima.
“I think the other two Skil-Shimano riders can climb, but I want to defend this jersey until the end. When we get to the Fraser’s Hill stage, I will follow them.”
The top four in the Asian riders’ classification are separated by just three seconds (Fukushima holds a three second advantage over the rest) while the other expected contenders, Azad University’s Mehdi Sohrabi and Polygon-Sweet Nice’s Kazakh rider Vyacheslav Dyadichkin were stuck in the main bunch that came in 23 minutes behind the winning break.