Posted by Editor on 02/4/06
Tour de Langkawi - Malaysia
Note the 5th place rider on the stage - the former world mountain bike champion, back from serving his suspension for EPO use.
Stage 2 - Tanjung Malim to Sitiawan 165 km
1 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 3:59:24
2 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
3 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Wiesenhof Akud
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Great Britain
5 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
6 Samuele Marzoli (Ita) LPR
7 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
8 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
9 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Japan
10 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni
14 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance
26 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance
60 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole
62 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators Insurance
67 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance all s.t.
1 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 5:43:01
2 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Wiesenhof Akud at 0:06
3 Erki Putsep (Est) AG2R Prevoyance s.t.
4 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Japan 0:12
5 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 0:15
6 Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
7 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole both s.t.
8 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Selle Italia Diquigiovanni 0:16
9 Elio Aggiano (Ita) LPR
10 Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance both s.t.
65 Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance 7:42
75 Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance
86 Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Navigators Insurance
92 Saul Raisin (USA) Credit Agricole all s.t.
1 Steffen Radochla (Ger) Wiesenhof Akud 38 points
2 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 29
3 Erki Putsep (Est) AG2R Prevoyance 20
4 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Japan 20
5 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 17
23 Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance 4
1 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole 6 points
2 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 4
3 Jose Miguel Elias Galindo (Spa) Relax-Gam 2
1 Relax-Gam 17:09:51
2 Wiesenhof Akud at 0:29
3 Navigators Insurance 7:26
4 AG2R Prevoyance
5 Selle Italia Diquigiovanni both s.t.
Stage 1 report from Navigators:
Yesterday (Thursday, February 2nd), Simon Donnellan, the managing director of the 11th Le Tour de Langkawi, addressed the audience attending the Team Presentation announcing a revamped version of the now famous Malaysian Tour, and promising an exciting and competitive race through the beautiful countryside, challenging mountains, and marvelous cities of the Malaysian peninsula. What he did not promise was an opening stage that would set the race in a spin from day one, and all but eliminate some of the big favorites from capturing the ultimate prize.
Stage one was supposed to be a relatively docile affair, with the only real drama being the finishing sprint in Rawang. Eighty kilometers of gentle roads did not really present a strong opportunity for a major race shakeup, and there were plenty of teams with an interest in showcasing their sprint specialists. Well, so much for theory!
In the opening kilometers of the race a series of attacks sparked a full on assault and, when the dust had settled, 24 riders had gone clear. They hovered at 20 seconds, and then to 30 seconds as the peloton sorted the composition. With many teams represented, and the hot humid conditions stifling the field's interest in expending unnecessary energy, the gap soon grew to 1'30". About half of the riders in the lead group were working a steady tempo, and as the group's race numbers rang out on radio tour, it was soon apparent that some opportunistic GC contenders had snuck away. Most notable, Barloworld's South African Champion, and defending Langkawi champ, Ryan Cox was in the group with teammate David George, and Selle Italia's Columbian National Champ Walter Pedraza had made the split as well.
According to plan, Navigators Insurance had their hopes placed on Columbian Cesar Grajales, who had alertly stayed with Cox and his rival compatriot, placing at least four dangerous classification contenders up the road. Panaria was represented by two capable players in Matveyev and Richeze, but their GC hope, Julio Perez, was left in the main bunch, along with the Iranian duo of Mizbani, and Askari, and Credit Agricole's American Saul Raisin. Grajales' Navigators teammate Mark Walters worked well with the German Wiesenhof riders and the Spanish Relax squad, who each had three in the break, to help keep the pace steady and fast. The gap was growing, and with so many teams represented, the field lacked the motivation to organize a serious chase. Sella Italia gave it a nudge, but could not create cooperation, and so did not persist as the gap bulged to over 5 minutes. In spite of several defenders "sitting on" in the lead pack, the gap continued to grow, thanks to the efforts of the motivated riders in the group.
The day's only KOM at 67km was not difficult enough to split the group, and it was beginning to look like a field sprint for the leaders was inevitable. With Wiesenhof-Akud setting the pace over the final kilometers, it was Panaria's Max Richeze who uncorked the fastest kick to the line, finishing in front of AG2R's Erki Putsep, and Japan's Miyazawa. To add to the bizarre events of the day, after time bonuses were factored, Putsep and Richeze share the lead with the Argentine getting the jersey based on his stage victory.
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