Italy’s Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is aiming at more victories in this year’s Tour de Langkawi, after finally claiming his much-awaited first victory of the 13th edition on today’s Stage 5. Loddo entered the event as the top sprinter, however his Professional Continental team had gone winless until the 139.9-kilometre stage to Bandar Penawar.
“I truly hope that tomorrow there will be another bunch sprint, and I will win again,” said Loddo. “It always depends on whether there is a sprint or not at the end. Every day we have worked for a bunch sprint but today we haven’t as we had someone in the break.”
Loddo was the dominating sprinter at last year’s race, with the Italian equalling Graeme Brown’s (Rabobank) record of five stage victories while riding for Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia. The 29 year-old entered the event as top-rated sprinter in the event’s strongest team, with the Italian claiming a stage victory at last month’s Tour of Qatar.
In addition to Loddo, the Tinkoff Credit Systems squad has 2007 stage winner Pavel Brutt and strongman Nikolay Trusov on this year’s roster for the Malaysian event. Despite the strong lineup, which includes Loddo’s Selle Italia team-mate from 2007 Walter Pedraza, the outfit has struggled to control the race in the opening stages, and lost the first bunch sprint of this year’s edition yesterday to Danilo Hondo (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)
Loddo believes his victory in Langkawi was harder to claim than that which he took against the world’s top sprinter Tom Boonen (Quick Step) at the Tour of Qatar.
“It’s actually harder to win here because there hasn’t been many bunch sprints,” he noted. “The difference between a sprint in Langkawi and a sprint in Qatar is that Tom Boonen’s team Quick Step pulls the sprint at 65 kilometres an hour and here there are many people who take risks for being a part of the sprint, so it’s always hard to get position.
“For winning here there’s need for strength and luck,” he added.
While Loddo said his 24th career victory against Boonen in Qatar was satisfying, what he’s really hoping for is to carry his form into the European season this year.
“I have beaten Boonen in Qatar and that was a nice satisfaction in my career,” he said. I hope I have made an improvement this year for winning in Europe after repeating in Malaysia what I did last year.”
The Tour de Langkawi continues tomorrow with a 182.8-kilometre stage from Bandar Penawar - Kuala Rompin.
Stage 5: Top 10 places
1. Alberto Loddo (ITA/Tinkoff Credit Systems) 3hrs 07mins 53secs,
2. Mauro Richeze (ARG/Group-Navigare) s.t.
3. Aurelien Clerc (SUI/Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
4. Takashi Miyazawa (JPN/Meitan Hompo) s.t.
6. Anuar Manan (MAS/Letua Cycling Team) s.t.
7. Mohd Hariff Salleh(MAS/Cycling Team) s.t.
8. Miyataka Shimizu (JPN/Meitan Hompo) s.t.
9. Marco Corsini (ITA/NGC Medical) s.t.
10. Ahmad Haidar Anuawar (MAS/Letua Cycling Team) s.t.
Top 10 overall places
1. Matthieu Sprick (FRA/Bouygues Telecom) 19hrs 12mins 05secs,
2. Mitchell Docker (AUS/Drapac Porsche) 19hrs 12mins 06secs,
3. Gustavo Cesar (ESP/Karpin
4. Diego Nosotti (ITA/NGC Medical) 19hrs 12mins 09secs,
5. Bernard Sulzberger (AUS/Letua Cycling Team) 19hrs 12mins 11secs,
6. Jackson Rodriguez (VEN/Serramenti PVC) 19hrs 12mins 12secs,
7. Matt Wilson (AUS,Team Type 1) s.t.,
8. Jeremy Yates (NZL/New
9. Shinichi Fukushima (JPN/Meitan Hompo) 19hrs 12mins 13secs,