Astana's Andrea Guardini continues to make the Tour de Langkawi his personal playground with the Italian claiming his 20th career stage victory at the Malaysian stage race.

Guardini has raced the event six times, and of the 37 stages on offer, has won 20 in that span of time, a remarkable domination of the event.

Stage five of the Tour de Langkawi finished in the capital, Kuala Lumpur after 148.8km with Guardini ahead of Andrea Palini (Skydive Dubai) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data).

“It’s a wonderful day for me and a perfect fourth win here on my favourite finishing line of Le Tour de Langkawi”, Guardini said.

“Every time I come to Kuala Lumpur, I win, it’s fantastic. With 20km to go, my mind was all set on this finish location. I could feel a lot of adrenaline in the run in. I knew exactly where I needed to pass my adversaries to outsprint them. We took control of the race and I had a really good sprint.”

Miguel Angel Lopez leads the general classification after some defensive work by Guardini in helping to deny van Rensburg critical intermediate sprint bonuses, who is a threat for the overall title.

“I’ve lost a little bit of time on GC but we caught the breakaway riders by profiting from the work of the other teams too," Lopez said.

"I’m happy to retain the yellow jersey and to realise that the flag of (the Federal Territory of) Kuala Lumpur is exactly the same as Colombia’s at the exception of the heraldry in the middle. I feel much welcome in Malaysia.”

Monday 29 Feb 2016

The Etixx-QuickStep hit factory has uncovered another talent in Czech Petr Vakoč, with the 22-year-old picking up a brace of French victories over the weekend.

First it was the Sud-Ardèche than on Sunday the Drôme Classic where Vakoč battled AG2R's Jan Bakelandts for the win before emerging victorious. Arthur Vichot of (FDJ) finished third. 

“I am extremely happy to score another victory, 24-hours after the one in Classic Sud-Ardèche, Vakoč said. "It’s really incredible.

"Once again, the race was hard, with narrow roads, which forced us to be at all times at the front, fighting for a good position. When Bakelants attacked, I jumped immediately into his wheel and we managed to catch the group at the front and leave those riders behind.

"I knew the finale and it was very important to enter first in that last corner. Bakelants anticipated me and was the first to go into that corner, but I found the power to come back and outsprint him in the final 50 meters."

Vakoč's next race will be next weekend's Strade Bianche which will be broadcast live on SBS from 11;45pm AEDT on 5 March. 

The International Cycling Union (UCI) continues to be vigilant in checking bikes for any form of motorised assistance, giving the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad field of machines the once over.

Orica-GreenEDGE has lost the services of veteran classics performer Mat Hayman to a crash at Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

The thirty-seven-year old is a key plank in the Australian registered team's assault on the classics, with his experience providing leadership to the younger riders.

The crash led to a fracture to the radius bone in his right arm.

“'It is one of those things, part of racing, part of our sport, but still always hard to accept. I had spent months training for these races and to have it end like that, so quickly is disappointing to say the least.”

“It is not a complicated fracture, and I am hoping that it will heal quickly and I can be back on the road with the boys as fast as possible.”

Hayman will be lost to the team for approximately four weeks.

All eight riders making up the ACE-the Sufferfest-Lesotho MTB Team are Lesotho born and bred. Most come from very poor backgrounds and three were orphaned at a young age. Finding basic necessities to live is difficult and, as the team budget (€10,000 a year) is too small to pay them, they must work to earn money and find time to train after hours.

So how have they managed to position themselves in the top half of the teams (43rd out of 87) in the UCI XCO Team Ranking published last week?

Read more at the UCI website.

“On the road, in the pro peloton, experience is limited, but historically we have experience from the change over in MTB and more recently in cyclocross where there is a mix of braking options used all the time. I’ve got first hand experience of being part of that change over in cyclocross. When working for Helen, she was one of the first riders to switch over to disc brakes in cyclocross. Before having used them, I assumed the braking would be so powerful you’d stop immediately and I saw one particular area where there might be a problem of mixed brake types – at the end of the start straight, where riders transition to off-road elements. So far, in 5 years, my initial fears were totally wrong.

“I’ve been more and more impressed over the 5 years I’ve been working on disc brakes with the modulation they provide. They offer a hugely consistent braking function, they continue to work with buckled wheels, they avoid the build up of grit and mud that sits on the rim surface, and they continue to work in all conditions. These are things that make them safe and advantageous to use.”

Read more at Total Women's Cycling.