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Italian Alberto Loddo claimed his second stage victory at the Tour de Langkawi Monday in an intense bunch sprint that resulted in at least 10 riders crashing just 50-meters from the finish line.
Loddo, who out-sprinted Ceramiche Panaria’s Ruben Bongiorno and Richeze Maxmiliano at the end of Stage 1 in Langkawi, once again prevailed over his rivals on a hot and humid afternoon on the fourth day of Asia’s biggest cycling race. This time, it was Maximiliano, winner of the second stage, who had to settle for the second spot on the podium. South African Daryl Impey, second on day two of the 10-stage tour, finished third.
As the riders worked their way down the final stretch, 10 riders hit the blistering tarmac. Two riders – Amir Zargari and Lilian Jegou – appeared to be injured and were later taken by ambulance to the hospital. Zargari and Jegou were later found to have suffered only minor injuries but it was uncertain if they would be able to compete on Tuesday.
Monday’s stage started extremely fast with Jose Serpa and defending champion David George making early attacks. But Crédit Agricole, the team of overall race leader Anthony Charteau, quickly shut down the escape attempts. At the 80km mark, eight riders, led by Sergey Klimov (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecoms), finally managed to break loose. The duo then left the others in their wake and resisted for as long as they could but with 10km to go, the gap was halved to one minute. The sprinters from Panaria and Selle Italia then took over. Loddo, from the Selle Italia-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni team, completed the 178-kilometer race from Gua Musang to Kota Bahru, the longest stage this year, in a time of 4 hours and 58 seconds. “I would like to thank my teammates for this victory,” said Loddo. “This win was not any easier than the first. Towards the end there was still one rider who was close, but somehow we managed to catch him and secure the stage.”
Loddo said that he was unaware of the crash that took place behind him. Charteau, who amassed a formidable four-minute lead on Sunday, remains the overall race leader. Charteau said he won’t be too active on Tuesday’s 167km-long and flat fifth stage between Kota Bahru and Kuala Terengganu.
“We do not have any plans to attack on the next few stages. But we will try and control the pace,” said the Credit Agricole rider.
Stage 4 (Gua Musang to Kota Bahru – 178km)
1. Loddo, Alberto (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, 4:00:58,
2. Richeze, Maximiliano (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria Nav
3. Impey, Daryl (RSA) South Africa
4. Huff, Brad (USA) Team Slipstream
5. Park, Sung Baek (Kor) Korea National Team
6. Shinagawa, Mashahiro (Jpn) Skil Shimano
7. Arashiro, Yukiya (Jpn) Nippo-Meitan Hompo
8. Sanderson, Nicholas (Aus) SouthAustralia.com
9. Anuar, Manan (Mas) L2A Letua Cycling Team
10. Trusov, Nikolai (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System
1. Charteau, Anthony (Fra) Crédit Agricole, 13:26:41
2. Pedraza, Walter (Col) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, 13:30:41,
3. Voeckler, Thomas (Fra) Équipe Bouygues, 13:31:20
4. Pasamontes, Luis (Spa) Unibet.com, 13:31:24
5. McLeod, Ian (Rsa) Française des Je, 13:31:24
6. Brutt, Pavel (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System, 13:31:24
7. Loubet, Julien (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance, 13:31:24
8. Poilvet, Benoît (Fra) Crédit Agricole, 13:31:24
9. Kolesnikov, Sergey (Rus) Unibet.com, 13:31:26
10. Askari, Hossein (Irn) Giant Asia Racin, 13:31:28