February 18/01 8:19 am - Tour de Langkawi: Stage 12 Story
Posted by Editor on 02/18/01
The 2001 Tour de Langkawi has ended. After 12 stages and 1836 kilometres, Paolo Lanfranchi has led Mapei-Quick Step to a clean sweep of the overall awards. The final stage was anti-climactic, as expected, with the 7.6 kilometre circuit in downtown Kuala Lumpur, which the riders covered 12 times, not having any effect on the overall standings. Federico Colonna of Cantina Tollo took the field sprint to win the final stage.
Mapei won the yellow, green (points) and climber's jerseys, plus the best overall team award. The only things they didn't win were the awards for best Asian rider, which went to Wong Kam-Po, and best Asian Team - Kam-Po's Telekom Malaysia squad.
Following the race, Lanfranchi was full of praise for Langkawi. "This is a very well organized race, as good as any in Europe. The win is very important to me, since it is the first of the season and will help boost my morale for later."
Mercury Viatel's Chris Wherry also finished safely in the field to take third place overall after extremely strong rides in the mountains and the time trial. "I came into this race very relaxed, without tons of preparation. The early stages helped me get fit for the climbs, and I was psyched to be at the front."
For the Canadian team it was a successful outing also. According to new national team member Greg Seiniewicz of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia: "I came out of this race with a really good feeling. To complete a race of this length (12 stages) is certainly a confidence builder and I expect it will have a positive effect on my results later in the season. Langkawi gave me a chance to see how hard it is against the top riders."
National Team Manager and Development Coach Jacques Landry was also happy with his squad's performance. "This is the first year of a 4 year Olympic preparation cycle, so we wanted to bring some newer, younger riders to get the next generation ready. We didn't have any expactations other than I wanted the guys to be aggressive, get in the breakaways and be visible. We were very successful at that, and some riders, such as Svein Tuft (14th in the time trial on stage 10), have attracted the notice of managers from the pro teams."