What's Cool In Road Cycling

Inside Langkawi: Racer Diary 4

Today’s 4th Stage of Langkawi, won by the newly impressive Brazilian Mendonca Pagliarini, covered the first real climbs of the race – 2 x 20km – but finishing with 100km of flats. Our “race insider” – Al Iacuone of Flanders-iteamNova had a chance to test his own climbing legs, size up the other gc contenders on the road, and even pass on some advice mid sprint…

– By Al Iacuone –
Another day has passed and like predicted yesterday the mountains didn’t really make a difference on the GC. Saturn chased down the break again although they did it twice today. There was the usual crash in the last km and the usual winner. Pagliarini won his 3th bunchkick in succession. That’s the story in a nutshell but looking around on the climbs you get a good picture of the riders.

The team bus – just slightly cozier than some of the Div. 1 team rigs…

It was a nervous start because the climb started immediately. And after the first hectic km of breakaway attempts the first real move came from a very impressive Roland Green. He managed to take the KOM points at the top, the intermediate sprint down in the valley and the KOM-points on the second climb before Saturn could chase him down. That’s when the second brake went with guys that weren’t dangerous to Saturn and the usual race developed as described above.

In the Saturn-camp O’Neill was pretty good on the climb but the young Tom Danielson was impressive on the climbs he covered almost every dangerous move. But still he ended up losing 3 sec to Roland Green through the intermediate sprint. Other guys that impressed me were Paolo Lanfranchi and the Columbia-Selle Italia team who were there in numbers.

To get in contention for GC I tried to get away a couple of times but finally decided against it because their was a strong headwind all day that was just too much for a long effort. Of course I still want to be there on Genting and today’s performance gave me confidence I’m up for it.

The curious thing today was the fall with about 250 m to go. I was up near the front to make sure I didn’t lose time through gaps in the bunch and saw the Iranian rider go down. He slid down the road and even before he came to a stop he was back on his feet, bike in his hand ready to jump back on. Which he did only to realise his front wheel was too bent to carry on riding. He jumped back off nearly knocking over a couple of other riders and started running for the line.

I hope you can imagine what this looked like. I really couldn’t believe my eyes. In passing him I tapped him on the shoulder and said you don’t have to run you’ll get the same time anyway.

See you tomorrow and hopefully without a bunchsprint won by Pagliarini because that’s getting boring.

Al Iacuone

Rider Diaries provided courtesy of Flanders-iteamNova. Check out the official website for FLANDERS-ITEAMNOVA.COM

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