The champion of Japan, Takashi Miyazawa, is having a fabulous experience at Le Tour de Langkawi as he leads out to sprint victories the newest Italian star tipped to take over from Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi. His name is Andrea Guardini, winner of the first two stages of the Malaysian race and still leading the race after stage 3.
Miyazawa and Guardini have both joined the Pro Continental outfit Farnese Vini-Neri, previously known as ISD.
“I knew from what he did as an amateur that Guardini was a good rider,” Miyazawa told CYCLINGTIME.com on the start line of Stage 3 of Le Tour de Langkawi in Taiping. “But in the first stage, we had to see how we would work together, so I first went in a breakaway of twenty riders but at the end, it was a bunch sprint and we did everything right to bring Guardini in perfect position for the sprint. He beat Park Sung Baek who I know very well as a great sprinter too.”
“As we had the leader’s jersey, we had a hard time controlling the race on Stage 2,” Miyazawa continued. “I was allocated two different types of work. If one of the three riders dedicated to pacing the front of the bunch gets tired, I move up and replace him up there, and once we come close to finish, I start the lead out before Elia Favilli does the last part and Guardini concludes.”
At the end of Stage 2Miyazawa crashed though, but luckily he was relatively ok, unlike his two former team-mates from Meitan-Hompo, Yukiya Arashiro and Park Sung Baek ,who were forced to pull out of the race due to their injuries. Another former rider of Akira Asada’s team, veteran Shinichi Fukushima ,crashed on two occasions at the beginning of Stage 3.
“Guardini is the sprinter of the future,”Miyazawa stated. “He’s a quiet guy. He’s not crazy like most of the sprinters. We have a good team of young riders at Farnese. We’ve had two productive training camps in Italy. We hope for Italian champion Giovanni Visconti to have a great season. I hope to ride the Giro d’Italia with him. I feel ready for that. Maybe at the age of 32, it’s a bit old for finally joining a Pro Continental team but I also think it’s the right time. When I see Shinichi still racing at 40, I feel young.”
However, Miyazawa also foresees personal and national interest in delivering results at Le Tour de Langkawi. Classified hors-category by the UCI, the Malaysian event allocates points that could help to qualify Japan for the road race at the London Olympic Games next year. “I’ll try to climb at my best during Stage 4 and Stage 5, after which I’ll see if maybe I can target a good position on GC, ”Miyazawa announced.