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January 8th, 2008, 08:38 AM
A look inside Shimano's shrouded wheel factory
Shimano has taken the status of its wheel line from 'somewhat questionable newcomer' to today's comprehensive array of top-of-the-line ProTour-quality models in just a few short years. Shimano opens up the doors of its wheel factory in Malaysia to outsiders for the first time, and Cyclingnews Tech Editor James Huang heads across the Pacific to snoop around.
If you were to wander into Shimano's Malaysian wheel operation, you'd be greeted by the usual cacophony of factory machinery. All of the company's road wheelsets (and many, if not all, of the mountain bike ones) are built here amidst the whoosh of compressed air lines, the banging of presses, the buzzing of drills, the whirring of CNC mills. The second thing that strikes you is the sheer size of the operation. Shimano won't say exactly how many wheels it produces or sells, but considering that the 12,000 square meters of pre-preg carbon fiber that is kept on hand at any given time period exclusively for use in wheels lasts but a single week and you can at least get an idea. Once you remind yourself that only a handful of Shimano's wheel uses carbon fiber at all, the scale of things really begins to set in.
Rest of article here...http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2008/features/shimano_wheel_factory08
January 10th, 2008, 06:15 AM
Dataran Putra, Putrajaya 7 January 2008 - The beginning of 2008 marks another edition of the oldest bicycle race in Malaysia. Since the inception in 1963, it had never been an annual affair due to the limitations & constraints in the days of old. However, it became one of the most popular cycling tour in Asia during the 70's until the late 80's. Last year saw an awakening of Jelajah Malaysia, as Asia's top riders & teams competed in a true Asian battlefield where three out of seven stage-wins became the biggest ever achievement by our riders in any UCI's 2.2 race.
February 9th, 2008, 06:03 PM
This Year's LTdL To Determine Its Future Direction
ALOR SETAR, Feb 8 (Bernama) -- This year's edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), which enters its thirteenth year, holds a lot of significance as it will determine the direction the event, Asia's biggest and most prestigious cycling race, will take in future.
This year's LTdL kicks off tomorrow with the first stage from here to Kepala Batas, Penang. A total of 148 riders from 25 teams are vying for honours in the nine stages at stake which will end on Feb 17.
The "Hors Classe" event will be closely watched this year as there is speculation that this might be its last.
Remarks by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said recently that she wanted it to be a resounding success with local riders doing well at it, needs to be noted by all.
Azalina is dead serious as the ministry is pumping a lot of money into the event as well as collaborating with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) in running it.
Of the 25 teams taking part this year, three are Pro Tour, seven professional outfits, 11 continental teams while four are national contingents.
LTdL 2008 chief operating officer Datuk Naim Mohamad said with only three Pro Tour teams from France this year, namely AG2r La Mondiale, Bouygues Telecom and Agricole, compared to five in the last edition, the competition this time is going to be more interesting.
"I am confident national riders will do well especially in going for the Proton jersey (best Asian rider)," said Naim, who is also MNCF deputy president.
The riders in the national contingent under the guidance of Aminuddin Sulaiman are Suhardi Hassan, Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, Mohd Zamri Salleh, Mohd Rauf Nor Misbah, Mohd Faris Abd Razak and Muhammad Firdaus Daud.
The Malaysian team to watch out for will be Le Tua as they did well in the Tour of Malaysia recently. Besides having two Indonesians in the team, the continental team have also roped in Aussie Bernard Sulzberger to beef up the squad.
PRO TOUR: AG2r La Mondiale, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole (all from France)
PROFESSIONAL SET UPS : Karpin Galicia (Spain), CSF Group-Navigare (Ireland), Tinkoff Credit Systems (Italy), Skil Shimano (Holland), NGC Medical OTC Industria Porte (Switzerland), Team Type 1 (USA), Serramanti PVC Diquiguiovanni-Androni Giacattoli (Venezuela);
CONTINENTAL TEAMS : Gerolsteiner-Team ISTA (Germany), Meitan Hampo-GDR (Japan), Seoul Cycling (South Korea), LeTua (Malaysia), MNCF (Malaysia), Trek Marco Polo Team (China), Polygon Sweet Nice (Taiwan), South Australia.com AIS (Australia), Drapac Porche (Australia), Aad University (Iran);
NATIONAL TEAMS: Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong.
Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 - Stage 1
Bouygues Telekom's Matthieu Sprick Surprises Arriving Solo in Kepala Batas finish.
Frenchman Matthieu Sprick pulled the surprise on the peloton with the fastest legs in the opening stage of Le Tour de Langkawi. Sprick in a last 2 kilometer attack left his breakmates in the dust to take the victory in the first stage from Alor Star to Kepala Batas.
Despite the scorching 85 degree heat, the Bouygues Telekom rider, who was part of a 19-rider breakaway group from 25km out of Alor Star, stepped up the pace two kilometers from the finish in Kepala Batas. The others, done in by the flat but grueling 182.6km long stage, failed to follow Sprick and finished almost three seconds behind.
Sprick sensationally crossed the line in 4 hours 10 minutes and 55 seconds while Aussie Mitchell Docker and Italian Diego Nosotti were second and third respectively.
“I am very satisfied with the first day of racing considering that it was my first race of the year. I hope this streak will continue,” said Sprick, who was awarded the prestigious leader’s yellow jersey.
“I am very happy to be in Malaysia because I’ve heard a lot of good things about Le Tour de Langkawi and I must admit that I was very surprised with the quality of this event. I am especially with my form today. It will be hard to defend the Yellow Jersey tomorrow as there are a lot of good riders in this tour.”
Sprick’s shocking win this afternoon, will surely put the pressure on the likes of world-class sprinters Danilo Hondo (Serramenti PVC), Ruben Biongiorno (CSF Navigare) and last year’s five-stage winner Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems).
Shinichi Fukushima (Meitan Hompo GDR) was the catalyst in a three-man breakaway early at the start. They were soon followed by Jean-Marc Marino (Credit Agricole), Ruslan Ivanov (Serramenti PVC) and Jackson Rodriguez (Serramenti PVC) and the escape eventually grew to 19 riders which remained together to the end.
Along the way, Matt Wilson (Team Type 1) bagged the first two sprints while Shinichi the third. The third sprint win turned out to be crucial for it helped Shinichi, older brother of Koji to take the Asian riders’ Blue Jersey.
“I felt good at the beginning and attacked early,” added Shinichi. “I was not thinking of the Asian jersey although I must admit that now that the attention is on me, it will be hard to go for stage win.”
The last five kilometers saw team Tinkoff working hard before Sprick made it all his own with two kilometers left.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the race today – it is picturesque just like it is back home in Australia,” added Docker, who will start in the sprinter’s Green Jersey tomorrow in Stage 2 from Butterworth to Sitiawan. “I think tomorrow will be another aggressive day, so the focus will be on the Green Jersey for the moment.”
Meanwhile, the best placed Malaysian finisher was national team cyclist Mohd Rauf Nur Misbah who came in a creditable 20th overall.
Today’s start was attended by Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Kedah Mentri Besar, Datuk Mahdzir Khalid while Perlis Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kasim graced the first sprint in Kangar.
Tomorrow's Stage 2 will be flagged off in Butterworth at 12.40 in the afternoon and will end 159.7km later in Sitiawan.
February 10th, 2008, 04:53 PM
Hunt Dominates Stage Two
By Azlan Muhammad Zain
SITIAWAN, Feb 10 (Bernama) -- Jeremy Hunt from the Credit Agricole team dominated stage two of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2008 which ended here today.
The Briton clocked 3 hours 34 minutes 36 seconds to win the stage, from Butterworth to here, a distance of 159.7km over mostly flat terrain.
Hunt displayed his superior sprinting skills to finish first in front a massed bunch.
"My win today was unexpected because riders constantly kept attacking from the back," he told reporters at the post-race press conference.
It was also a sweet victory for Hunt because he failed to win any stage in the tour last year.
However, Matthieu Sprick from Bouygues Telecom retained his yellow jersey as the individual classification leader with 7'45:27s although finishing in 36th place today.
Shinichi Fukushima from Meitan-Hampo-GDR also retained his blue jersey with total time 7'45:35s ahead of main rival Park Sung Baek (Seoul Cycling) by only 35 seconds.
Bernard Sulzberger from LeTua surprised everybody today when he grabbed second place in the sprint category (green jersey) with a total of 20 points, just two points less than the green jersey holder, Gustavo Cesar of the Karpin Galicia team,
The Australian will have an opportunity to grab the green jersey in stage three tomorrow, from here to Banting in Selangor, a distance of 209.4km, as it has three sprint zones.
February 11th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Anuar Creates History In 2008 LTdL
BANTING, Feb 11 (Bernama) -- LeTua's Anuar Manan created history in the 13th edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) when he grabbed the sprint jersey (green jersey) in stage three, from Sitiawan to Banting, a distance of 209.4km, today.
Not only that, he also made the Malaysian cycling community proud by becoming the first local rider to finish second in a stage in the LTdL since it was introduced in 1996.
The Terengganu-born Anuar and the winner of today's stage, Lee Won Jae of the Seoul Cycling team, along with three others gave their all before the first sprint zone at Sg Besar, Selangor to breakaway from the bunch group.
Anuar said that after the first two stages, his focus was to read the European teams' strategies because they had done a lot of breakaways before leaving the bunch group far behind.
"My chance finally arrived at Sungai Besar, Selangor and with four other cyclists, including the national team's Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, we were able to escape from the main group," Anuar, who was on cloud nine, told reporters at the post-race press conference.
However, the Korean managed to find his "second wind" to beat Anuar to the finish by five seconds in 4 hours 37 minutes 43 seconds.
"Although I won the green jersey today, it's still not enough because according to our team's strategy, I was capable of winning this stage," added Anuar.
According to LeTua's strategy today, they were eyeing the yellow jersey for Bernard Selzberger but the Australian's bicycle experienced a technical problem.
Anuar is now leading the sprint category with 31 points after winning all three-sprint zones today, leaving in his wake Koji Fukushima of Meitan Hompo-GDR, who has accumulated 23 points.
His goal now is to retain the jersey although he knows it will be very hard because world-class sprinters like Alberto Loddo (winner of five stages in the 2007 LTdL) and Danilo Hondo have not reached their peaks yet.
Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom) retained the yellow jersey with a total time of 12'24:19s after today's stage with Mitchell Docker of Drapc Porsche hot on his heels.
Shinichi Fukushima of the Meitan-Hampo-GDR team retained his blue jersey and still remains as the best Asian rider after today's stage.
Tomorrow's stage is from Port Dickson to Batu Pahat, a distance of 169.0km and the LeTua team have yet another chance to accomplish their target of winning at least one stage in this year's LTdL.
February 27th, 2008, 06:18 PM
Le Tour De Langkawi 2008
First double for Serramenti PVC - The Kings of LTdL 2008
KUALA LUMPUR (17 Feb, 2008) ? Serramenti PVC proved they were the Kings of the Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 when they convincingly secured the individual and team titles in Asia's biggest road race here this afternoon.
The nine-day tour came to a sensational end today at Dataran Merdeka when Mauro Abel Richeze of the CSF Group-Navigare team won the 73km long Stage 9, also known as the KL Criterium.
Serramenti PVC, led by the effervescent Gianni Savio, have been consistent performers in the Le Tour de Langkawi and after disappointments in the last two years, charged back this year in a big way when Ruslan Ivanov wrested the yellow jersey and the team cemented the overall title after yesterday's climb up Fraser's Hill.
Serramenti had never won the double before although they bagged the individual crown in 2002 off Hernan Dario Munoz and in 2004 from Freddie Gonzalez when the team was known as Selle Italia.
"It has been a fantastic team effort and in the eight years that we have been here, we have won 15 stages thus far. But his victory is certainly the best so far," added Savio.
A thrilled Ivanov said: "I am here because Savio and Marco Bellini (the Sportif Director) gave me a chance after I did not have a contract for almost two years. It is impossible to describe what I feel at the moment although the important thing is to look ahead and repay the team for their faith in me."
Richeze's victory in the final stage has ensured the 13td edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi remains unique in that the winners throughout all nine stages have been by different riders.
Richeze, who was largely blamed for the crash into Kuantan which saw him being penalized, said that he deserved the win today after the hardwork of his CSF team over the last few days.
"I did not intend to cause the crash but I think that I deserve the win today because my team has been working very hard," explained Richeze.
Added Filippo Savini (CSF Navigare), the winner of the red jersey for king of the mountain: "As far as what races I will be taking part in will depend largely on the Directeur Sportif."
Aurelien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom), who was confirmed as the winner of the sprinter.