February 1/03 8:37 am - Tour de Langkawi: Story
Posted by Editoress on 02/1/03
Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi
This report made possible by Human Kinetics Publishers
Saturn's Nathan O'Neill has held onto the yellow leader's jersey at the Tour de Langkawi after stage 2, but the price was considerably higher then the team probably wanted to pay: sprinter Charles Dionne out with broken fingers and severe lacerations to his left thigh, with the skin peeled back from the muscle. Team Canada's Gord Fraser and Peter Wedge both went down also, with Fraser shredding his shorts and gathering some road rash, and Wedge banging his knee. As problematic for Wedge was the broken frame on his Kona, since the Canadian squad has only one spare; and it is on the small side for him.
The 148 kilometre stage was completely uneventful until the final half kilometre, when two separate crashes took down approximately 20% of the field, and held up 60% of the riders. The obligatory break (one Japanese and two Philippines riders) was reeled in on the first of two 8 kilometre finishing loops in Butterworth, and the squads began set up their sprinters.
The first crash occurred as the peloton was rounding the last curve with 500m to go, and delayed the majority of the field. The second, at the 200m marker, was considerably more serious. In addition to Dionne and Fraser, Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze) went to hospital with a broken pelvis, David McKenzie received 4 stitches in his knee, and Koki Shimbo (Japan) has unspecified internal stomach injuries. A number of other riders came across the line bleeding from the face and with road rash.
Approximately 25 riders avoided the second crash to contest the sprint; a controversial one, won by Mendonca Pagliarini (Lampre). Pagliarini appeared to have swerved from the centre of the road to the left hand side, effectively shutting the door on Graeme Brown (Ceramiche Panaria), and he was initially disqualified, handing the win to Brown. However, after reviewing the race footage, the commissaires reversed themselves and gave the win back to Pagliarini, saying that he had opened up enough of a gap in front of Brown before moving over. (We will be posting a series of shots showing the sprint)
Since the crashes happened within the final kilometre, they did not affect the overall general classification. The race continues tomorrow with another flat stage - 169.6 kilometres from Kulim to Ipoh. All Canadians should start, with the exception of Dionne.
- Roland Green spent the day in green, wearing the points jersey, since O'Neill had the yellow jersey. "This may be my only time in the sprint jersey" he quipped, while Gord Fraser said "that's my favourite colour!" Green's time in the jersey was short, with stage winner Pagliarini taking it from him for stage 3.
- some of the U.S. riders are a little concerned about the fact that the race numbers have the national flag of the rider on them, given the escalating tension in the Middle East. On a related note: one of the Canadians went in to get a haircut on Langkawi and found that the barber had a poster of Osama Bin Laden on the wall! He quickly reassured the barber that he was Canadian...