PIC BY LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI Argentinean Maximiliano Richeze (Panaria) made up for a narrow miss on the first day to win stage 2 of the Le Tour de Langkawi. Richeze, who along with his Ceramiche Panaria teammate, Ruben Bongiorno, was pipped at the end by Selle Italia’s Alberto Loddo the previous day, defended his position down the last 250 metres to take the chequered flag in style, and more importantly, claim the yellow jersey. Today’s victory was Richeze’s second stage win in this event following his success in the opening stage in Rawang last year. “I’m extremely happy to win here,” said Richeze. “I feel very much attached to this race and this country. It’s a very nice race that brings me a lot of luck. “I came to Malaysia for the first time last year and was fortunate to win Stage 1. That gave me the yellow jersey for two days and I climbed the Cameron Highlands with it, which I’ll be doing again tomorrow.” The Argentinean expects to lose the yellow jersey tomorrow in the climb up the holiday resort. “I expect to lose it as I did there last year, because I’m not a climber,” said Richeze, who completed the 166km long stage in 3 hours 55 minutes and 41 seconds. Rolling in second was South Africa’s Daryl Impey while first day winner, Alberto Loddo had to settle for the third spot. South Korea’s Park Sung Baek did well to finish fourth. While the top jersey changed hands today, Japanese Koji Fukushima managed to hang on to the leader’s colours in the Asian category. He also remains the leader in the King of the Mountain category. Race description In today’s race, flagged off in the northern town of Kangar, the Japanese riders were active very early but instead of Fukushima, it was Yukiya Arashiro and Yoshiyuki Abe, along with Malaysian Safwan Sawai, who broke away. The bunch reacted strongly and soon another breakaway was launched by one of the favourites, Jose Sherpa from Selle Italia and Tour de France hero Thomas Voeckler. Throughout the race, which was run under stifling conditions, there were several other significant attacks by Sergey Kolesnikov, Shinichi Fukushima and Malaysian Loh Sea Keong. The last attack saw the Fukushima brothers, together with Kolesnikov but they were soon reeled 3km from the end. After missing out on the first stage, Panaria were clearly prepared for any late challenges and deservingly claimed the victory. “We began the second stage with a strong intention of winning,” said Richeze. “It was either Bongiorno or myself. We learned from yesterday’s mistake and didn’t want to finish second and third again. So we decided that only one of us would sprint for the win. With 2km to go, Bongiorno said he wasn’t feeling good, so I’d be the sprinter. It worked out well. I went out with 250 meters to go and never looked back.” The third stage tomorrow will be from Kuala Kangsar to Cameron Highlands over a distance of 133km. Stage 2 results 1 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg, Ceramiche Panaria) 3:55:41 2 Daryl Impey (RSA, South Africa) 3 Alberto Loddo (Ita, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) 4 Sung Baek Park (Kor, Korea National Team) 5 Nikolai Trusov (Rus, Tinkoff Credit System) 6 Julian Dean (NZl, Crdit Agricole) 7 Luis Rodriguez (Spa, Unibet.com) 8 Brad Huff (USA, Team Slipstream) 9 William Bonnet (Fra, Crdit Agricole) 10 Mashahiro Shinagawa (Jpn, Skil Shimano) General classification after stage 2 1 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg, Ceramiche Panaria) 5:44:50 2 Alberto Loddo (Ita, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) 3 Koji Fukushima (Jpn, Nippo-Meitan Hompo) 0:00:05 4 Daryl Impey (RSA, South Africa) 0:00:08 5 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg, Ceramiche Panaria) 0:00:08 6 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus, Unibet.com) 0:00:09 7 Md Nor Rizuan Zainal (Mas, Letua Cycling Team) 0:00:11 8 Thomas Voeckler (Fra, quipe Bouygues Telecom) 0:00:12 9 Sung Baek Park (Kor, Korea National Team) 0:00:13 10 Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr, Ceramiche Panaria) 0:00:13 Official website: www.ltdl.com.my Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Stage 2 of Le Tour de Langkawi ended in another bunch sprint, with success this time for the Panaria