KEMASIK, Malaysia (VN) – Well before the Tour de Langkawi concludes Sunday in Kuala Terengganu, everyone knew who the champion would be.
It came on the sixth stage to Genting Highlands, when, on the lower slopes of the relentless 17-kilometer ascent, Androni-Giocattoli’s quartet of climbers set a menacing pace that few could follow. In the end it was not José Rujano (who in retrospect went too early) but José Serpa that produced the goods, as the 2009 Langkawi champion danced away with Azad University’s Victor Nino Corridor.
Serpa proved too strong for Nino Corridor in the sprint and by day’s end, was a half-minute ahead of team-mate Rujano with Nino Corridor another 26 seconds behind.
In Part I of this exclusive interview with Gianni Savio, the charismatic long-time team owner/manager of Androni-Giocattoli, he tells VeloNews what it feels like to be on the precipice of winning the race for a sixth time, the game plan for the queen stage to Genting Highlands, and what happened to Rujano, who until Stage 6, most believed was destined to win the race.