Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 – Stage 2 – Hunt guns down first ever win in stage two

Source: LTdL Website

SITIAWAN (10 Feb, 2008) – Englishman Jeremy Hunt overcame an early two-man breakaway to win his first ever stage victory in the prestigious Le Tour de Langkawi on the second day of Asia’s biggest road race from Butterworth to Sitiawan here today.

ltdl 2008 stage 2

Japanese champion Yukiya Arashiro and Yoshimasa Hirose from Skil Shimano broke away at 85km but Hunt and his Credit Agricole teammates staged a frantic fightback and reeled the leaders in some 2km from the end.

Hunt completed the 159.7-kilometre stage in a time of 3 hours 34 minutes and 36 seconds. Italian Matteo Priamo from CSF Group-Navigare and Gustava Cesar from Karpin Galicia were second and third. Malaysian hopeful Annuar Manan from the Le Tua Racing Team performed remarkably, finishing 18th overall.

ltdl 2008 stage 2

“It has been more than a year ago since I last won a stage,” said Hunt. “I came here to get some conditioning for the Classics and was hoping for a stage win. And after the win today, I hope I can win more in the days ahead.”

Several early attacks saw the peloton settling down at the 12km mark as the South African national team set the pace.

The first sprint in Sungai Bakap was won by Aurlien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom) before LeTua Cycling team’s Bernard Sulzberger took Sprint Two in Bagan Serai.

After several attempts, a successful breakway was launched by Asahiro and Hirose. They managed to open up a gap of more than four minutes from the peloton which averaged speeds of 47kmh in the first two hours.

For his efforts, Asahiro took Sprint Three in Pantai Remis. Down the final 25km, Tinkoff Credit Systems paced the main bunch as Nicolas Roche (Credit Agricole) charged away to chase the two riders up front. Credit Agricole worked hard to reel in the duo and set up a grand finish for Hunt.

ltdl 2008 stage 2

Despite the win, Hunt was not able to overhaul Frenchman Matthieu Sprick for the leader’s yellow jersey.

“As a spectator, I would enjoy watching a change to the yellow jersey but not as a rider,” added Matthieu Sprick from Bouygues Telecom who is still in the leaders’s yellow jersey.

“There were a lot of attacks and I was a little happy to see the two riders going off as that allowed us to set a steady pace.”

Added new green jersey leader Gustavo Cesar of team Karpin Galicia: “we are in a good position at the moment and I believe that any change to a jersey can only mean that the race is good.”

Shinichi Fukushima, who still maintained his hold of Asia’s blue jersey, had a relatively quiet day although he did well to be second in the Second Sprint behind Sulzberger.

“Winning time in the sprint will be valuable in the final count and today, we could not do much. We will try again tomorrow,” said Shinichi.

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