Friday March 1, 2013
Coquard conquers Stage Eight for LTdL triumph
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
TANAH MERAH: Young French sprinter Bryan Coquard grabbed an important win in Stage Eight of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Kuala Terengganu to Tanah Merah yesterday.
The Europcar sprinter beat Andrew Fenn of OmegaPharma-QuickStep to the finish line in 3’36:47 to take the 164.5km stage. Veteran Italian sprinter Francesco Chicchi of Vini Fantini completed the podium in third spot.
Julian Arredondo kept the yellow jersey for another day after finishing safely in the leading bunch.
Coquard already has two stage wins under his belt on top of two second-placed finishes this year.
Last month, the 20-year-old Coquard showed glimpses of his ability when he won two stages (Two and Four) and finished second in Stage Five of the Etoile de Besseges in France.
In the opening stage of LTdL, from Kangar to Kulim, Coquard finished second behind Dutchman Theo Bos of Blanco.
“I’m happy with the win ... to get a win in a field packed with strong sprinters is always special,” said Coquard, who was the silver medallist in the omnium event of the London Olympics last year.
There were no big breaks in the race yesterday, with Low Ji Wen of OCBC Singapore and Liu Jianpeng of Hengxiang Cycling making the only succcesful break at the 47km mark.
A crash early in the race put paid to Aidis Kruopis’ (Orica GreenEdge) hopes of a stage win after three third placings as he pulled out from the race.
Team Nippo were never worried about the break, leaving the duo to build up a comfortable lead of up to 10:48 after 81km of racing.
But as the sprinters’ teams – like Astana, Garmin-Sharp and Vini Fantini – combined at the head of the peloton to set up a bunch sprint, the break finally dissolved about 10km to the finish line.
“It’s an important win for me because the team worked hard to give me my first win since the start of the race,” said Coquard.
“Although I beat the likes of Chicchi and Guardini today, I don’t want to compare myself with them yet.”
STAGE EIGHT RESULTS Kuala Terengganu-Tanah Merah (164.5km): 1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar 3’36:47, 2. Andrew Fenn (Bri) OmegaPharma-QuickStep, 3. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Vini Fantini, 4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana, 5. Rico Rogers (Nzl) Synergy Baku, 6. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Venezuela, 7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp, 8. Hossein Nateghi (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical, 9. Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku, 10. Jani Tewelde (Eri) MTN Qhubeka all same time.
Leading overall standings: 1. Julian Arredondo (Col) Team Nippo 29’31:52, 2. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreedEdge 1:15 behind, 3. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) MTN Qhubeka 2:10, 4. Peter Stetina (US) Garmin-Sharp 2:32, 5. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 2:40.
Blue jersey: 1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana 84pts, 2. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Vini Fantini 60, 3. Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku 57.
King of the Mountain (red jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 48pts, 2. Julian Arredondo (Col) Team Nippo 45, 3. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge 32.
Best Asian rider (white jersey): 1. Wang Meiyin (Chn) Hengxiang Cycling 29’34:32, 2. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 18secs behind, 3. Mizbani Ghader (Iri) Tabriz Petrochemical 58.