Cycling /Le Tour de Langkawi: Loddo finally bags stage win
Alberto Loddo raises his hand after crossing the finish line to win Stage Five of the Le Tour de Langkawi from Johor Baru to Bandar Penawar yesterday. — Pic: HASAN ISMAIL.
ALBERTO Loddo made up for the disappointment of missing out on the first four days with an explosive bunch sprint victory in Stage Five of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Johor Baru to Bandar Penawar yesterday.
The hectic day on the undulating terrain with crosswinds affecting the surge towards the finish in the final 60km of the 139.9km stage, also ended with French Pro Tour team Bouygues Telecom taking charge of their second jersey when their Swiss sprinter Aurelien Clerc dislodged local hope, Le Tua’s Anuar Manan, atop the points classification.
Stage Five was again dotted with multiple attacks, but insignificant to the outcome apart from the loss of Anuar’s lead to Clerc, courtesy in part to the final intermediate sprint of the day in Bandar Penawar in which Clerc finished second to NGC Medical-OTC’s Diego Nosotti.
That pushed him comfortably ahead in the battle for the Milo green jersey after both Clerc and Anuar had taken top points in each of the first two intermediate sprints.
Bouygues Telecom’s Matthieu Sprick held on to the overall general classification (GC) lead for a fifth day, maintaining his one second advantage over Drapac-Porsche’s Mitchell Docker.
Loddo’s Tinkoff team celebrated his second and hard-earned victory which the rider viewed as just reward after their failures in the opening four stages.
Loddo was clearly ahead of CSF-Navigare’s Argentine sprinter Mauro Richeze and Clerc at the finish line, while Japan’s Meitan Hompo-GDR rider Takashi Miyazawa finished an impressive fourth, ahead of Seoul City’s Park Sung Baek and Le Tua’s Anuar at sixth.
“I was desperate for a win today (yesterday). The team had worked so hard, they pulled a lot in the first days of the Tour but for nothing, for which I was really disappointed,” said Loddo, who last year won five stages in LTdL, then riding for the Serramenti Diquigiovanni team.
“Today we went with (Sergey) Klimov in the break (in the final 60 kilometres) so that the team could recover a little. It was really hard because of the undulations. There wasn’t even one metre of really flat roads.
“But when the break was caught, we had to react quick. Yesterday (Tuesday) it was a bunch sprint as well but I was caught in the middle and I didn’t want to make that mistake again. With one kilometre to go I was already brought to the front and at 400m to go, I was on my own. In the final 200 metres, I made a move to the left, then to the right and from then on saw it was all mine.”
The Asian riders’ jersey remained with Meitan Hompo-GDR’s Shinichi Fukushima for a fifth day.
Today’s Stage Six is expected to be another gruelling run from Bandar Penawar to Kuala Rompin which features similar terrain to yesterday’s stage but on a longer 182km route.