Cycling / le Tour de langkawi: Hard days ahead for sprinters

NST Onine>11/2/2008

By : ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL

THE big line-up of sprinters in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) this time around must be aching for a bunch sprint but thus far nothing has worked.

Even Le Tua’s promising darkhorse Anuar Manan cannot help but have his team look at other options.

Le Tua had parked new Australian signing Bernard Sulzberger in an inviting position in the overall general classification (GC) which has Malaysia’s top team thinking of bigger possibilities, without moving too far away from their initial targets of going for stage wins.

Sulzberger is a surprising fourth in the GC, just six seconds behind leader Mattieu Sprick of Bouygues Telecom.

“It has been quite frustrating, but also when we look at the situation, we’ve had no choice. It looks like the attacks are going to be a daily affair and whenever the group is all together, we have to try and do something for a result,” said Anuar.
“We’re also cautious because Bernard is in a very good position, so the team cannot risk too much in case there comes a time when we need to pool together and work for him to get something.”

It seemed the big bunch sprint, where 22-year-old Anuar would have the chance to go up against the big guns like Tinkoff’s Alberto Loddo, Serramenti Diquigiovanni’s Danilo Hondo and Bouygues Telecom’s Aurelien Clerc, was destined to happen yesterday until a 10-man break went away in the final five kilometres.

“We were waiting for the bunch sprint, but again it didn’t happen. So, there was no need to go full blast under such circumstances.

“We worked for Bernard in the intermediate sprints, to get points for him and to get the time bonuses to cut the lead.”

Sulzberger shares second spot in the points classification on 20 points with Drapac-Porsche’s Mitchell Docker, while new leader Gustavo Cesar of the Karpin-Galicia team is two points ahead, giving the team a good shot at wresting that jersey over the next few stages as well.

“What is good is that the whole team is still fresh. We feel that we had not wasted much energy doing unecessary things,” said Anuar.

~ by missjewelz on February 11, 2008.

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