Bettini takes another at Langkawi

Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) became the fourth rider to win two stages in the 2001 Tour de Langkawi, consolidating his lead in the green jersey points competition, while his team mate Paolo Lanfranchi easily finished in the pack, protecting his yellow jersey.

Lanfranchi holds on to overall lead

By Rob Jones, VeloNews correspondent

Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) became the fourth rider to win two stages in the 2001 Tour de Langkawi, consolidating his lead in the green jersey points competition, while his team mate Paolo Lanfranchi easily finished in the pack, protecting his yellow jersey.

The 162.9-kilometer penultimate 11th stage began in downtown Kuala Lumpur, in the shadow of the Tour’s title sponsor – Telekom Malaysia. After a neutralized run to the outskirts of the city the peloton made a large loop to the north of Kuala Lumpur before heading to Shah Alam for five laps of a 7.6 kilometer circuit over portions of the time trial course the riders had ridden yesterday.

Attacks began from the gun, but Mapei was clearly in control, pouncing on anything that looked remotely dangerous. A break of 6 riders did get away at the 62-kilometer mark and was allowed to gain 3 minutes before Mapei, Credit Agricole and AG2R went to the front and began pulling them back.

As the race entered the finishing circuit the breakaway gap was a mere 19 seconds, and the riders were looking over their shoulders. Shortly after they were caught on the third lap, Mark Walters (Team Canada) took a flyer and gained 16 seconds.

“I had to give it a shot,” said Walters, who wore the yellow jersey in the 2000 Tour de Langkawi for 2 days. “I attacked on a straightaway just after another break had come back.”

However, he was unsuccessful, as Mapei and Mercury organized a chase and brought him back with one lap remaining.

Rain was falling on portions of the circuit, and the peloton was cautious, with no one wanting to go down this late in the race. The riders faced an uphill sprint in the final 300 meters, and Bettini latched onto Graeme Miller’s (Telekom Malaysia) wheel before coming around the New Zealander with 200 meters to go to take the stage over Andris Nauduzs (Selle Italia-Pacific) and Miller.

Bettini was gracious in his victory: “I benefited from the fact that unfortunately the sprinters are not here anymore (the top sprinters were all eliminated in the Genting mountain stage two days earlier when they missed the time cut). My team spent the whole day controlling the race for me, so it was not so hard at the end when I was fresh.”

Tomorrow Bettini will have a chance to become the first triple stage winner of the 2001 Tour when the peloton rides the final stage; a 12 lap criterium in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Results

Stage 11 KL Tower to Shah Alam
1. Bettini, Paolo (I) Mapei – Quick Step 162.90 km in 3:28:27
2. Nauduzs, Andris (Lat) Selle Italia-Pacific
3. Miller, Graeme (NZ) Telekom Malaysia
4. Wrolich, Peter (A) Team Gerolsteiner
5. Hinault, Sebastian (F) Credit Agricole
6. Pankov, Oleg (Ukr) Collstrop-Palmans
7. Serina, Corrado (I) Alexia Alluminio
8. Colonna, Federico (I) Cantina Tollo
9. Arvesen, Kurt-Asle (N) Team Fakta
10. De Meester, Hans (B) Collstrop-Palmans
11. Petersen, Soren (Dk) Saturn
12. Usov, Alexandre (Brs) Phonak
13. Murn, Uros (Slo) Mobilvetta Trentini
14. Iijima, Makoto (Jpn) Japan
15. Mandoja, Innar (Est) AG2R Prevoyance
16. Lochowski, Roberto (G) Team Fakta
17. Klasna, Trent (USA) Saturn
18. Walters, Mark (Can) Canada
19. Rasmussen, Jacob (Dk) CSC World Online
20. Sauerborn, Andreas (G) Team Gerolsteiner

Others:
32. Axelsson, Niklas (S) Mercury Viatel
33. Horner, Chris (USA) Mercury Viatel
34. Wherry, Chris (USA) Mercury Viatel
42. Decanio, Matthew (USA) Saturn
54. Erker, Jacob (Can) Canada
73. Barry, Michael (Can) Saturn all s.t.
80. Van Velzen, Min (Can) Canada 0:16
86. Seiniewicz, Greg (Can) Canada
87. Moninger, Scott (USA) Mercury Viatel all s.t.
95. Tuft, Svein (Can) Canada 0:41
108. McCormack, Frank (USA) Saturn 3:21

Overall after 11 stages:
1. Lanfranchi, Paolo (I) Mapei – Quick Step 41:20:02
2. Bettini, Paolo (I) Mapei – Quick Step 0:44
3. Wherry, Chris (USA) Mercury Viatel 1:57
4. Bertoglio, Paolo (I) Ceramiche Panaria 2:43
5. Jenner, Christopher (F) Credit Agricole 3:59
6. Herve, Pascal (F) Alexia Alluminio 4:21
7. Axelsson, Niklas (S) Mercury Viatel 4:32
8. Ludewig, Jorg (G) Saeco Macchine Caffe s.t.
9. Tonetti, Gianluca (I) Selle Italia-Pacific 4:58
10. Joergensen, Rene (Dk) CSC World Online 5:05
11. Stadelmann, Rene (Swit) Phonak 5:27
12. Flecha Giannoni, Juan (Sp) Colchon Relax 6:15
13. Murn, Uros (Slo) Mobilvetta Trentini 6:28
14. Nocentini, Rinaldo (I) Mapei – Quick Step 7:05
15. Decanio, Matthew (USA) Saturn 7:17
16. Loubser, Jacobus (RSA) South Africa 7:28
17. Sauerborn, Andreas (G) Team Gerolsteiner 8:08
18. Pospyeyev, Kyrylo (Ukr) Cantina Tollo s.t.
19. Straumann, Uwe (Swit) Phonak 8:20
20. Scarselli, Leonardo (I) Selle Italia-Pacific 10:52

Others:
32. Barry, Michael (Can) Saturn 17:07
36. Erker, Jacob (Can) Canada 19:06
39. Petersen, Soren (Dk) Saturn 20:51
52. Moninger, Scott (USA) Mercury Viatel 27:42
53. Horner, Chris (USA) Mercury Viatel 27:46
66. Van Velzen, Min (Can) Canada 33:53
69. Klasna, Trent (USA) Saturn 34:42
74. Seiniewicz, Greg (Can) Canada 37:03
76. McCormack, Frank (USA) Saturn 38:08
77. Walters, Mark (Can) Canada 38:19
80. Tuft, Svein (Can) Canada 38:54