Kenny van Hummel’s (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) victory on stage six of the Tour de Langkawi was more than just a win, it was repayment to his team boss Gianni Savio for his belief in the Dutch rider.
When the Vacansoleil-DCM team folded at the end of last season, Van Hummel was all set to start afresh at the new Fernando Alonso team. However, it didn’t work out and he was left searching once again when Alonso decided not to proceed with his plans. With the market as terrible as it was the Dutch rider was left with the real possibility that he may have to call a premature end to his career. Savio stepped in and gave Van Hummel another chance, along with teammate Johnny Hoogerland, last November.
An grateful Van Hummel said that the victory was, “really important. I am happy that they gave me this chance and that they gave me this spot in the team. I always want to win, but this is really special for me.”
Van Hummel’s 23-year-old teammate Gianfranco Zilioli is eighth in the general classification. The team have been active in the breaks too, but Savio stated after the stage that they had decided to play it easy on this stage, to put all they could behind Van Hummel.
“It was a chaotic sprint, but my team helped me a lot,” said Van Hummel at the finish. “I was in a good wheel first off, but it was really difficult to stay easy in the final because it was so chaotic. I had Omar Bartazzo and Carlos Ochoa who worked all day for me.”
It has been an up and down race for Van Hummel. He has been knocking on the door with two top ten placings, but came a cropper in the big pile-ups at the finish of stage 2. He ended up with abrasions to his legs and lost some skin from the heel of his hand. The Dutch rider said that he has been suffering the affects of the fall. “I crashed in the second stage, so I had a lot of trouble with my body but at the moment I am well and I am really happy with my victory.”
The victory equals Van Hummel’s tally for each of the last two years, although he did notch up a number of podium finishes.