PIC BY BRUNO BADE The money was on the more renowned climbers to conquer the third stage, a Category 1 ride up one of Malaysia’s most popular highland resorts, today. Instead it was Credit Agricole’s Anthony Charteau who unexpectedly hit the jackpot and became the first Frenchman to wear the yellow jersey in the Le Tour de Langkawi. Charteau, who was supposed to have set the pace for his teammate and main rider, Francesco Bellotti, was so strong going up Cameron that he made it all the way to the peak with more than three minutes to spare. Among the other better known climbers Charteau surprised today were Jose Rujano (Unibet), defending champion David George (South Africa) and Jose Serpa (Selle Italia). The 28-year-old Charteau completed the 133-kilometre long stage, which was flagged off in the royal Perak city of Kuala Kangsar, in a time of 3 hours 40 minutes and 45 seconds. He was 3 minutes 54 seconds ahead of second-placed Walter Pedraza of Selle Italia Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni. With the time he gained here, Charteau, a stage winner in the Tour of Catalunya in 2005, took over the leader’s jersey from the previous day’s winner, Maximiliano Richeze of Ceramiche Panaria. For the French-based Credit Agricole team, today’s victory was a repeat of their success here a year ago. Then, it was Saul Raisin who made it to the top of the resort first. “At the end of the day, it’s a very good result for the Crdit Agricole team,” said a delighted but exhausted Charteau. “My initial plan was to accompany the breakaway riders and wait for the team leader (Bellotti) at the top of the first climb. But I reached it with such a huge gap that it was out of the question for me to wait ” I had to go for it.” Charteau was among five riders who broke away at the 28km mark. But as they reached the foothills of Cameron, Slipstream’s Mike Creed dropped off, leaving Charteau with Koji Fukushima, Lee Win Jae and Yukiya Arashiro. Receiving no assistance from the others in the leading pack, Charteau stormed away just before the halfway point and went on to claim the stage. “Although I’m not in the best shape yet, I’m also not a bad climber. With so many riders well placed in the General Classification, it’s going to be easier for us to control the situation. I’m not worried about the flat stages, that’s something we know how to do at Crdit Agricole. With the advantage I have now, I have to think about the overall win but if I can’t make it in Genting Highlands, Bellotti will be there. The gradients suit him really well,” said Charteau. Credit Agricole’s success was later met with some disappointment when they learnt that Bellotti, second overall here last year, and teammate William Bonnet had been penalized for sheltering behind a vehicle. Both were fined 33 Swiss Francs and penalized 40-seconds. Bonnet and Bellotti finished sixth and seventh respectively but after the penalty were relegated to 25th and 26th position in the Stage 3 results. Bellotti, suffering from a bout of diarrhoea, had apparently stopped some time during the race to ease himself, and was trying to catch up with the rest of the riders when he was adjudged to have infringed the rules. Fukushima, one of the riders who has constantly been on the offensive and winner of two sprints today, said it was a very hard stage for him. “Our team’s objective is to win a stage and we are working towards it. The fourth stage tomorrow moves to the East Coast of the peninsula. It starts Gua Musang and ends 178-kilometres later in Kota Bahru. Stage 3 results 1 Anthony Charteau (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 3:40:51 2 Walter Pedraza (Col, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) 0:03:54 3 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:04:29 4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 5 Pavel Brutt (Rus, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 0:04:31 6 Luis Rodriguez (Spa, Unibet.com) 7 Julien Loubet (Fra, AG2R Prvoyance) 8 Benot Poilvet (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 9 Ian McLeod (RSA, Franaise des Jeux) 10 Yokihiro Doi (Jpn, Skil Shimano) 0:04:36 General classification after stage 3 1 Anthony Charteau (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 9:25:43 2 Walter Pedraza (Col, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) 0:04:00 3 Thomas Voeckler (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:04:39 4 Luis Rodriguez (Spa, Unibet.com) 0:04:43 5 Ian McLeod (RSA, Franaise des Jeux) 6 Pavel Brutt (Rus, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 7 Julien Loubet (Fra, AG2R Prvoyance) 8 Benot Poilvet (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 9 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus, Unibet.com) 0:04:45 10 Jose Serpa (Col, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) 0:04:48 Official website: www.ltdl.com.my Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Frenchman Anthony Charteau has blown the Tour de Langkawi wide open with a stunning ride in stage 3,