Kenny Van Hummel bounced back after risking the end of his cycling career. He signed with Gianni Savio’s Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela and won for the first time today (Tuesday) in his new colours. The Dutchman sprinted ahead of Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) to win Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi stage six in Pontian.
“I know my contract’s not worth much, but at least I have one and I’m able to pay my bills,” Van Hummel told Cycling Weekly two days ago. “It allows me to survive in the pro peloton one more year. Otherwise, it was going to be over and I was going to study to be a coach.”
Euskaltel and Van Hummel’s former team, Vacansoleil-DCM leaving last year forced several riders to retire, and big stars like Samuel Sánchez and Chris Horner only signed their contracts early this season. Van Hummel said that he had an agreement signed with two-time Formula One world champion, Fernando Alonso but it meant nothing when Alonso postponed his team one year.
“Gianni Savio signed me because I was one of the sprinters without a contract, I have good results from the past, I have experience and I’m a team player,” Van Hummel said. “He signed me and Johnny [Hoogerland] for the races in northern Europe. It’s easier also to receive some invitations in Holland and Belgium because we have results in those races and Johnny is the Dutch champion.”
The 31-year-old relied on Omar Bertazzo to finish off the 199.1-kilometre stage in Malaysia’s southwest. He beat Kruopis by five centimetres but it was enough to prove his worth to Savio.
“It’s really important,” he said at the finish today. “I’m happy that the team gave me a chance, a spot on the team. I always want to win but this is really special for me.”
The win may have been that much easier with Van Hummel’s new love for the sport.
“I am enjoying the sport more than ever because it was almost done for me. I am enjoying every minute on the bike now. I have less stress than before. I’m on the bike and I’m happy.”
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