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Food poisoning hits Tour de Langkawi as Coquard wins stage 9

Bryan Coquard (Europcar) won for the second consecutive day at Friday’s Tour de Langkawi stage 9, a day marred by a stomach bug that resulted in nearly a dozen riders leaving the race through Malaysia.

Coquard won just like he did on Thursday — in a furious, finish-line sprint at the end of the 124-kilometer course. After riding a teammate’s wheel until the final few hundred meters, Coquard blasted ahead and was able to outlast Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Allan Davis (Orica-GreenEdge), who finished second and third.

Julian David Arredondo (Nippo) remains the GC leader entering Saturday’s final stage. The Columbian is ahead of Pieter Weening (Orica) by 1:15 and Sergio Pardilla (MTN-Qhubeka) by 2:10.

Several media outlets reported that a number of riders were stricken with what was suspected to be food poisoning. Six riders did not start stage 9 because of the illness, while three others quit mid-race. At least six teams were affected and other riders, including points leader Andrea Guardini (Astana), competed despite feeling ill.

Orica seemed to take the worst of it, as three riders — Aidis Kruopis, Wesley Sulzberger, and Luke Durbridge — left the race. Kruopis’ departure, however, was due to a crash on Thursday.

Saturday’s stage 10 measures 115km and features a few small hills, along with three intermediate sprints.