Guardini unable to sprint as bad stomach cramps final day
Astana Pro Team rider Andrea Guardini suffered two nights with a bad stomach, unable to eat, unable to sleep at the Tour de Langkawi, just content to still be on his bike through the finish of the ten-day stage race in Malaysia.
Guardini, who has won more stages in his career at the Tour de Langkawi than any other rider, had worn the points leader's blue jersey for most of the race, winning one sprint finish outright and placing consistently in the top three throughout ten days of racing to remain atop the competition with a healthy margin.
But all that was erased after stage eight, when an illness swept through him quickly and weakened his powerful sprint.
"Before today's start I thought I was good, that I had gotten over the worst of it. But in the tenth stage I was feeling the same as the ninth - weak, no power, not feeling well. It was really a bad day for my stomach. I tried to do the finishing sprint today, to defend the jersey, but at 400m to go I was at full gas and I had no legs. No conditions for the sprint," Guardini said.
Italian rider Francesco Chicchi won Saturday's tenth stage at the Tour de Langkawi, and with it earned enough points to overtake Guardini in the blue jersey competition.
Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Jaan Kirsipuu said it was bad luck to end the week this way.
"We built a lot of strength at the Tour de Langkawi. The riders did a lot of days on the front, working as a team to put Andrea in the right place for the sprints, and Andrea got a lot of good experience at finding a common language with his teammates. It's unfortunate that something that happened to him outside of the race comes in to determine his final result, but that's cycling," Kirsipuu said.