Englishman Hunt nails his first stage win
KUALA LUMPUR: Englishman Jeremy Hunt overcame a two-man early breakaway to bag Stage Two of the Tour of Langkawi for his first-ever stage win yesterday.
Japanese champion Yukiya Asahiro and Yoshimasa Hirose, of Skil Shimano, broke away at the 85km mark of the Butterworth-Sitiawan race before Hunt and his Credit Agricole team-mates staged a frantic fightback to reel in the duo just 2km from the finishing line.
Hunt completed the 159.7km race in 3’34:36. Italian Matteo Priamo of CSF Group-Navigare and Gustava Cesar of Karpin Galicia came in second and third respectively.
Malaysia’s Anuar Manan of the Le Tua Team performed creditably, finishing 18th overall.
“It has been more than a year since I last won a stage,” said Hunt yesterday. “I came here to get some conditioning work done for the Classics and I was hoping for a stage win. After today’s win, I hope to win more stages.”
Several early attacks saw the peloton settling down at the 12km mark, with the South African national team setting the pace.
The first sprint at Sungai Bakap was won by Aurlien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom) before LeTua’s Bernard Sulzberger took Sprint Two in Bagan Serai.
After several attempts, Japanese duo Asahiro and Hirose staged a successful breakaway and managed to open up a gap of more than four minutes from the peloton.
Asahiro also won the third sprint in Pantai Remis.
With 25km to go, Tinkoff Credit Systems and Credit Agricole riders managed to reel in the Japanese duo to set up a grandstand finish for Hunt.
Frenchman Matthieu Sprick, winner of Stage One, retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
“As a spectator, I would enjoy watching a change to the yellow jersey – but not as a rider,” said Sprick of Bouygues Telecom.
Meanwhile Anuar continued to impress.
The Le Tua rider, fresh from his impressive performance in last month’s Tour of Malaysia where he won three stages, is eyeing a stage win in the LTdL.
“I must admit that the LTdL is highly competitive compared to the Tour of Malaysia but I believe that I am capable of winning a stage in the LTdL. Stage Seven (from Kuala Rompin to Kuantan) seems to suit me fine as the terrain is flat and distance is short (126.6km),” he said.