Guardini unsure of Grand Tour ride in 2016

Andrea Guardini (Astana) had all the answers for his sprint rivals at the Tour de Langkawi that finished on Wednesday, winning four stages in bunch sprints as he did last year.

But when it came to his future, the Italian could only leave most questions unanswered – or shrouded in uncertainty.

The Italian could not say if he would return next year to the Malaysian tour in which his record of stage wins extended to 22 on Wednesday when he won the final stage from Batu Pahat to Melaka in another bunch sprint.

Asked if he would be back to race next year, Guardini (Astana), 26 and whose tally of professional career wins totals 39, shrugged his shoulders and said with a smile: “I don’t know which team I am in next year. I hope so. I really enjoy it in Malaysia.”

As for his short terms plans, and if he would race a Grand Tour this year, Guardini was also unsure – although he made clear his desire to race in the Giro d’Italia.

“I don’t know because I haven’t a specific program for after April,” Guardini said. “I hope to be in the Giro d’Italia, but I know it will be really hard because we have a strong team for Vincenzo Nibali.

“I hope there is a place for me, but we will see. Maybe there will be a Vuelta a España.”

Guardini’s immediate plan will probably be to have a rest, with the Tour de Langkawi being his fourth back-to-back stage race so far this season.

Before coming to Malaysia he had already raced the Dubai Tour, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.

Guardini spoke after winning stages one and five of the Tour de Langkawi of the accumulated fatigue he was feeling. Not that it stopped him from winning – he went on to add wins in the last two stages. His victory on Wednesday’s final stage, that included three eight kilometre finishing circuits, saw him beat fellow Italian Jakub Mareczko (Southeast-Venezuela) and Shiki Kuroeda (Aisan Racing Team).

Meanwhile, South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) finished 12th on the stage to seal final overall victory from the Colombian pair Daniel Jaramillo (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), who finished at 18 seconds and 19 seconds, respectively.

Guardian said knew the finish from having won the stage to Melaka in 2012. “The last three kilometres are a bit complicated. There are a lot of turns, left and right. There was a bit of a fight to get to the front. I knew there was a headwind in the finish line and that there was a lot of space to pass. I waited for my sprint.

"Fortunately I sprinted really well to hold off Jakub. The sprint from behind was coming up fast.”

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