Posted by Editor on 02/1/00
Today's short (133 kilometre) stage produced lots of action, but no real changes in the overall standings. Italian Ivan Quaranta (Mobilvetta Design) took the bunch sprint from Luca Cei (Panaria Gaerne) and Points Jersey holder Gord Fraser (Mercury), with Chris Horner maintaining his slim 3 second hold on the Yellow Jersey.
The flat stage along the east coast from Kuantan to Kuala Rompin started out very fast, with a strong wind blowing off the ocean and slightly from behind assisting the riders. Mercury tried to keep the pace up to discourage attacks, but Farm Frites and Linda McCartney immediately sent riders off the front, boosting the speed of the pack to over 60 kilometres per hour. Saturn got a big scare when Trent Klasna, sixth overall, flatted at the 9 kilometre mark. His team mate Frank McCormack immediately gave him a wheel, and Mark McCormack and Michael Barry dropped back to help bring Klasna up, but it was a very hard chase.
The action did not slow down until 25 kilometres in, when everybody sat up and took a breather. They stayed quiet until the first Hot Spot Sprint at 40 kilometres, taken by Fraser, who padded his lead. He, Daniele Contrini (Liquigas) and Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) took a flyer off the front at this point, but they were all too dangerous for the peloton to allow to get away, and were brought back in time for the second sprint (Kilometre 46), with Faser again taking the top points.
Despite multiple attacks, it wasn't until 77 kilometres into the stage that a lone rider, Sven Teutenberg of Gerolsteiner, was able to make a breakaway stick for more than a couple of kilometres. Initially, he dangled off the front by 15-20 seconds, but as no one was willing to take up the chase (he was not a danger to G.C., being some 35 minutes down), his lead began to grow, reaching a maximum of 1:48 with 25 kilometres to go in the stage.
At this point Mercury sent all six of their riders to the front, joined shortly afterwards by Team Bonjour. Both teams had an interest in seeing everything back together to set up their sprinters (Fraser and Damien Nazon) for the stage win. The gap started to drop quickly, and shortly after the passing the 10 Kilometres To Go marker, everyone was back together.
The finish featured two left turns and then a 300 metre straightaway to the line. Malaysia Telekom All Stars, hoping to score their third stage win in a row, sent John Talen to the front to set up Franky Van Haesebroucke, but Fraser was sitting in third and Quaranta (a Giro stage winner) fourth. Quaranta swept around everyone to take the stage, ahead of Cei and Fraser.
- the stage winner and jersey holders were all given a Keris, a particularly wicked looked knife that was used by Malaysians in combat in the days before guns. Hopefully they won't get any ideas in the peloton.
- All the Canadians finished in the pack, and there was no changes in any of the jerseys or the positions of leading riders. Tomorrow's stage is the longest of the race - 245 kilometres across Malaysia from the east coast to the west. No major climbs to contend with, just distance.
- the Tour de Langkawi is expected to go to a 2.3 UCI classification next year, and possibly 2.2 the year after. This will start to bring in some of the top Tier 1 teams, looking for the UCI points such a classification would bring. The race will also probably move a couple of weeks later next year, to avoid a conflict with the Chinese New Year (this year it finishes during the weekend of the celebrations).
- Canadian Dominique Perras, and his new Swiss team Phonak are using this race as training, so none of the riders are expected to shine. "We started training very late, I am behind from previous years" said Dominique. The team is building towards peak form for May and June.
- There was an elephant at the start of the race, in Kuantan. The Canadian team posed with their new mascot, which became particularly friendly with Eric Wohlberg...
Stage 7 - Kuantan to Kuala Rompin 133 km
1. Ivan Quaranta (Mobilvetta Design) 2:50:46
2. Luca Cei (Panaria Gaerne)
3. Gord Fraser (Mercury
4. Franky Van Haesebroucke (Malaysia Telekom All Stars)
5. Alexandre Usov (Phonak)
6. Jans Koerts (Farm Frites)
7. Jan Bratkowski (Mercury)
8. Ciaran Power (Linda McCartney)
9. Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner)
10. Giancarlo Raimondi (Liquigas)
38. Michael Barry (Saturn)
59. Mark Walters (Canada)
78. Paul Kelly (Canada)
97. Eric Wohlberg (Canada)
116. Dominique Perras (Phonak)
117. Matt Anand (Canada)
119. Peter Wedge (Canada)
121. Sylvain Beauchamp (Canada) all s.t.
1. Horner 22:08:38
2. Cruz at 0:03
3. Walters 0:17
4. Baliani 0:29
5. Floyd Landis (Mercury) 0:33
6. Trent Klasna (Saturn) 0:40
7. Chris Wherry (Saturn) 0:50
8. Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) 0:57
9. Lennie Kristensen (Denmark) 0:57
10. Bjornar Vestol (Linda McCartney) 1:08
24. Wohlberg 3:03
26. Kelly 3:28
48. Barry 12:16
49. Perras 14:05
52. Fraser 15:46
63. Wedge 20:51
73. Beauchamp 24:32
98. Anand 35:57
1. Saturn 66:26:46
2. Mercury at 0:41
3. Gerolsteiner 2:59
7. Canada 6:00
1. Fraser 75 points
2. Haselbacher 59
3. Daniele Contrini (Liquigas) 45
5. Walters 34
1. Kristensen 43 points
2. Perez 41
3. Walters 34
31. Wohlberg 1
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