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Tour de Langkawi Cycling News for February 10, 2006

Date published:
February 10, 2006, 0:00 GMT
  • Saul's Malaysian Raisin d'être

    So tell me Saul...
    Article published:
    February 10, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Anthony Tan in Segamat

    By Anthony Tan in Segamat Speaking about Saul's raison d'être at the Le Tour de Langkawi, which has...

    By Anthony Tan in Segamat

    Speaking about Saul's raison d'être at the Le Tour de Langkawi, which has so far seen him win a classic stage to Cameron Highlands last Sunday and purposefully defend team-mate Francesco Bellotti's third position overall, which he holds on a knife's edge over Walter Pedraza (Selle Italia Diquigiovanni) and Cesar Grajales (Navigators Insurance) - just one second separates all three riders - the 23 year-old now admits he was being a little coy about his form when we first spoke to him a day before the race began.

    "I was playing coy with you," said Raisin with a boyish grin.

    "Well, I knew I was stronger than I was last year at this time of year, a lot stronger than I was last year. And last year I was thirteenth up Genting, so that kind of gave me an idea of where I might stack up in the race."

    On Tuesday's stage to the Genting Highlands, the American improved five places to finish eighth best up the torturous climb, and he now lies in eleventh overall after eight stages. Given that he was riding for Bellotti on that day, the young American could well have done even better than that had he been given carte blanche by his team. However, Raisin says he's been happy to ride for another team-mate in this race, as his main goal lies further down the track at the 2006 Giro d'Italia, where he will adopt a co-leadership role with the Bellotti.

    "Yeah, a lot happens in a year. I had a full year of racing last year, and even with a full year of racing, I crashed, broke my hip and had a whole month [off] with injury - so last year, I don't think I reached my full potential for the period I'm at now," he said.

    "So hopefully, if I can stay healthy this year, I can progress even more. A year does make a big difference, especially since I'm still only 23, my body's still changing, so who knows... "

  • To rest or not to rest?

    No rest for the wicked says South African tour leader David George
    Article published:
    February 10, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Anthony Tan in Melaka

    By Anthony Tan in Melaka On Wednesday afternoon in Tampin, a number of riders were looking...

    By Anthony Tan in Melaka

    On Wednesday afternoon in Tampin, a number of riders were looking particularly weary at the finish of the sixth stage, the 178.7 kilometre journey raced at an average speed of 41.74 kilometres an hour. The day before, which saw the riders ascend the infamous climb of Genting, winner José Serpa from Selle Italia Diquigiovanni completed the stage at a very brisk 33.05 km/h average.

    So are ten straight days of racing too much, especially for the European-based riders, who still have a full season ahead of them?

    "Six of one and half dozen of the other, really," said race leader David George to Cyclingnews. "Every year, somebody has an opinion on how the race should prepare them for Europe, and every year it changes. One year that had ten really long stages and it was enough for some and too much for others. You're never going to keep everybody happy.

    "Sure, Genting was a hard stage, but it was made hard by the way the guys raced - so if you race aggressively, you'll be tired."

    Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin was a rider who had to work particularly hard on both stages, aiding his team-mate Francesco Bellotti on the climb to Genting Highlands and then protecting the Italian's GC position the following two days.

    "Well, the other day up Genting, it's 100k and you know it's going to be hard at the finish - it's a one hour effort [at] maximum - the rest of the time you're sitting in the peloton and it's really not that hard," the American began by saying.

    "Yesterday [Stage 6] was gas full time; four hours or however long it was, you were riding [hard], you hit the climbs, you're attacking, you were riding the whole day. And yesterday in the heat, it really wears down on me, so it was definitely a lot harder."

    George also pointed out that today's stage [Stage 8] was 72.7 kilometres long with just a 16 kilometre time trial tomorrow in Melaka, before the race wraps up with the...