Loddo wants more in Langkawi

Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is back to winning in Malaysia.

Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is back to winning in Malaysia. (Image credit: Kurt Jambretz)

By Greg Johnson in Bandar Penawar, Malaysia

Italy’s Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is aiming at more victories in this year’s Tour de Langkawi, after finally claiming his much-awaited first victory of the 13th edition on today’s Stage 5. Loddo entered the event as the top sprinter, however his Professional Continental team had gone winless until the 139.9-kilometre stage to Bandar Penawar.

“I truly hope that tomorrow there will be another bunch sprint, and I will win again,” said Loddo. “It always depends on whether there is a sprint or not at the end. Every day we have worked for a bunch sprint but today we haven’t as we had someone in the break.”

Loddo was the dominating sprinter at last year’s race, with the Italian equalling Graeme Brown’s (Rabobank) record of five stage victories while riding for Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia. The 29 year-old entered the event as top-rated sprinter in the event’s strongest team, with the Italian claiming a stage victory at last month’s Tour of Qatar.

In addition to Loddo, the Tinkoff Credit Systems squad has 2007 stage winner Pavel Brutt and strongman Nikolay Trusov on this year’s roster for the Malaysian event. Despite the strong lineup, which includes Loddo’s Selle Italia team-mate from 2007 Walter Pedraza, the outfit has struggled to control the race in the opening stages, and lost the first bunch sprint of this year’s edition yesterday to Danilo Hondo (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)

Loddo believes his victory in Langkawi was harder to claim than that which he took against the world’s top sprinter Tom Boonen (Quick Step) at the Tour of Qatar.

“It’s actually harder to win here because there hasn’t been many bunch sprints,” he noted. “The difference between a sprint in Langkawi and a sprint in Qatar is that Tom Boonen’s team Quick Step pulls the sprint at 65 kilometres an hour and here there are many people who take risks for being a part of the sprint, so it’s always hard to get position.

“For winning here there’s need for strength and luck,” he added.

While Loddo said his 24th career victory against Boonen in Qatar was satisfying, what he’s really hoping for is to carry his form into the European season this year.

“I have beaten Boonen in Qatar and that was a nice satisfaction in my career,” he said. I hope I have made an improvement this year for winning in Europe after repeating in Malaysia what I did last year.”

The Tour de Langkawi continues tomorrow with a 182.8-kilometre stage from Bandar Penawar - Kuala Rompin.

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