PIC BY BRUNO BADE Current yellow jersey holder Anthony Charteau is well on the way to winning Le Tour de Langkawi following a tactical ride from Putrajaya to Seremban in stage nine today. Although the Frenchman was up against the winding road of Kuala Klawang, he kept up with the leaders through the several climbs of Bukit Tangga, Lenggeng and Bukit Mantin to maintain his more than one minute lead over his nearest challengers. Pavel Brutt from the Tinkoff Credit Systems team took the 173.1km stage for what was the first ever stage victory for the newly-formed professional continental team. “We have a team of good riders today and even though I was in the front pack, the stage was actually a lot harder than it looked,” said Charteau. “I have a good lead and although some had said that the heat was a problem, I love the heat, so I felt really good in the last several kilometres. “The tactic was to keep the boys from Serramenti close, so we were not too bothered when the Tinkoff rider took off. It should not be a problem to retain my lead tomorrow as I think that the Kuala Lumpur criterium is more for spectacle than an actual GC race.” As expected, stage nine did provide some semblance of a challenge to the riders after the punishing climb up Genting yesterday with more than ten riders making the early break that included Brutt, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Tiann Kannemeyer (South Africa), Park Sung-Baek (South Korea) and also two other new Russian riders, Serguei Klimov (Tinkoff) and Sergey Kolesnikov (Unibet.com). With more than a minute gap to the frontrunners, Credit Agricole sprang into action to lead the bunch. A chase group formed at the start of the first climb with Luis Pasamontes (Unibet.com), Jose Rujano (Unibet.com), David George (South Africa), Jose Serpa (Serramenti) and Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff). After Jeram Toi, the breakaway groups reformed, leaving just three riders in front: Brutt, Kolesnikov and George, as the others dropped off to rejoin the fast approaching peloton. The break was later joined by Drancourt before Rujano and Pasamontes rode up to give Unibet.com control of the group as it approached the second climb at Lenggeng. The yellow jersey group then worked doubly hard to close in on the leaders as Charteau kept his dream of being the first Tour de France rider to win Le Tour de Langkawi since the Mapei years (in 2001). “I’m very happy to give Tinkoff their first win – I sprinted 800 meters from the line,” said Brutt. “In terms of difficulty of between one to ten, I would give the race today a nine.” After stage nine today, Walter Pedraza (Serramenti) is still in the red polka dot jersey for the king of the mountains classification, Ghader Mizbani (Giant AIS) is in the blue for the best Asian rider, and Alberto Loddo (Serramenti) is in the green for the sprints classification heading into the ultimate stage of LTDL, the traditional Kuala Lumpur criterium. “I will try to win the Kuala Lumpur Criterium tomorrow but even if I could not, I will be happy if I can win the green jersey,” said Loddo. Stage 9 results 1 Pavel Brutt (Rus, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 4:07:08 2 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus, Unibet.com) 0:00:03 3 Pierre Drancourt (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 4 David George (RSA, South Africa) 5 Luis Rodriguez (Spa, Unibet.com) 0:00:05 6 Jos Rujano (Ven, Unibet.com) 0:00:10 7 Daryl Impey (RSA, South Africa) 0:00:34 8 Gene Bates (Aus, SouthAustralia.com) 9 Salvatore Commesso (Ita, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 10 Sung Baek Park (Kor, Korea National Team) General classification after stage 9 1 Anthony Charteau (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 30:50:19 2 Jose Serpa (Col, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) 0:01:02 3 Walter Pedraza (Col, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia) 0:01:34 4 David George (RSA, South Africa) 0:03:06 5 Jay Crawford (Aus, Giant Asia Racing Team) 0:04:05 6 Ghader Mizbani (Irn, Giant Asia Racing Team) 0:04:14 7 Pavel Brutt (Rus, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 0:04:21 8 Yokihiro Doi (Jpn, Skil Shimano) 0:04:43 9 Luis Rodriguez (Spa, Unibet.com) 0:04:53 10 Hossein Askari (Irn, Giant Asia Racing Team) 0:04:54 Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Tinkof took its first race win after today’s tough ninth stage of the Tour de Langkawi. But Anthony