CYCLING / LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI: Coquard does it again
SECOND WIN: Proves he is a rider for the future after taking ninth stage
YOUNGSTER Bryan Coquard made it two in a row when he won another bunch sprint to take victory in Stage Nine, the penultimate stage of the 18th Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Pasir Puteh to Kuala Berang yesterday.
In an uneventful stage, apart from a crash in the final kilometre that messed up the sprint for many, a pair of breakaway riders -- Liu Jianpeng of Hengxiang Cycling Team and Indonesia's Endra Wijaya -- made an escape that went for about 60 kilometres in the 123.4km stage.
That was easily reeled in by the bunch led by the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team of Stage Four winner Francesco Chicchi and Team Nippo-De Rosa of overall leader Julian David Arredond, whose lead was intact with just the final stage from Kenyir Lake to Kuala Terengganu today.
Hengxiang's Wang Meiyin remained in the lead of the Asian riders' classification, but the end of yesterday's stage meant he sealed the mountains classification victory with no more King of the Mountains hot spots left in today's stage.
This is Meiyin's second hors category race mountains classification victory, after achieving the same feat at the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China last year.
The bunch sprint saw 21-year-old Coquard repeat his feat in Stage Eight, when he again edged Chicchi for victory, with Orica-GreenEdge's veteran Australian sprinter Allan Davis taking third spot.
Malaysia's Anuar Manan of the Synergy-Baku Cycling Project produced his best finish in this year's race with seventh place.
But there was no denying Coquard's moment of fame, as the LTdL debutant -- in his first year as a professional with Team Europcar -- showed he is one to watch with his fourth victory of the season in only his second race.
"To win two stages is a fantastic feeling because it is difficult to achieve in this edition of LTdL.
"You can see from the top finishers of every stage, it isn't always the same people in there, so that shows how competitive it is," said Coquard.
"But my team were working well again. What we did yesterday (Thursday), we managed to repeat again today.
"Again, my lead-out man Kevin Reza did a good job of putting me in a good position with 300 metres to go.
"I was on Davis' wheel with Greame Brown (Blanco Pro Cycling) in front at that point.
"I found some space and opened up my sprint to the left and managed to bring it to the finish."
Coquard will have another go in today's 114.8km final stage that sees the peloton heading from Kenyir Lake into Kuala Terengganu, where they complete two laps on a circuit crossing the finish line before the actual finish.