BUKITJALIL, 4th December 2013 - 22 teams are expected to line up at the 19th edition of LeTour de Langkawi scheduled to kick off on Malaysia’s Paradisiacal island onFebruary 27. The ten-day long UCI 2.HC event is set to have its mostprestigious start list ever as five Pro Teams have already signed up.
“Wehave two more spots available for Pro Teams as per now”, LTdL chief operatingofficer Emir Abdul Jalal revealed. “We’re trying hard to get two more of theworld’s best teams. Compared to last year, we’ve lost the participation ofGarmin-Sharp and Omega Pharma-Quick Step. They’ve told us they were happy withtheir experience and they like our race very much but this time around, itcould simply not fit into their schedule. They’ll be welcome back next year.However, they’ve been replaced by two of the biggest teams in the world:Katusha from Russia and Tinkoff-Saxo, which is the team of Alberto Contadoreven though it doesn’t mean that he will come to Malaysia.”
Rostersare yet to be finalized but Katusha will be directed in Malaysia by their teammanager Viatcheslav Ekimov, a former Olympic champion and a true legend ofcycling just like Alexandre Vinokourov who rode Le Tour de Langkawi in his lastseason in 2012 and keeps sending his team Astana to Malaysia now that he’s themanager.
Forboth Katusha and Tinkoff-Saxo, it will be an unprecedented participation toLTdL with their current organization but the first version of a team sponsoredby Russian magnate Oleg Tinkov goes as far back as 2007. “Le Tour de Langkawiwas the first race of Tinkoff Credit System as a Pro Continental team thatyear”, Emir remembered.
“Theirfirst ever pro victory was stage 9 from Putrajaya to Seremban with PavelBrutt.” The first Tinkoff team became Katusha as Russia’s Global CyclingProject in 2009 while Tinkoff became a co-sponsor of the Saxo Bank team in2012. This week, he announced to have purchased 100% of the shares of the teampreviously owned by Bjarne Riis who remains in the role of team manager.
“Beingtrusted by these very important people in cycling show the credibility of ourevent worldwide”, Emir added as he also praised Orica-GreenEdge, Astana andBelkin for entering LTdL once again.
Up todate, four Pro Continental teams have also signed up: MTN-Qhubeka,Unitedhealthcare, Androni Giocattoli and first timers Team Colombia whose enrolmentform features Fabio Duarte. The former U23 world champion was second toVincenzo Nibali in last year’s queen stage of the Giro d’Italia.
“Wecould get more European teams as many of them are willing to come to Malaysia”,Emir continued, “but we also feel that it is our duty as Asian organizers togive the riders of our continent a chance to perform at the highest level.”
Continentalteams to line up will be Terengganu TSG from Malaysia, KSPO from Korea, AisanRacing from Japan, Giant-Champion System (formerly known as Max Success) fromChina, CCN Gios from Brunei, OCBC Singapore, Synergy Baku from Azerbaijan,Tabriz Petrochemical from Iran as well as national teams from Malaysia,Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Organisedby the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) inassociation with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). The 19thedition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from February 27 to March 8, 2014 is setto cover a total distance of 1,506.5km over 10 stages, the UCI 2.HC (horscategory) race featuring again as one of the biggest events on the UCI AsiaTour calendar.
CONFIRMED TEAMS FOR LTdLPRO TOUR
1. BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM (BEL) – NED
2. ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) – KAZ
3. ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) – AUS
4. KATUSHA (KAT) – RUS
5. TEAM SAXO TINKOFF (TST) - DEN
1. COLOMBIA (COL) – COL
2. ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI - VENEZUELA (AND) – ITA
3. MTN - QHUBEKA (MTN) – RSA
4. UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM (UHC) – USA
1. TERENGGANU CYCLING TEAM (TSG) – MAS
2. AISAN RACING TEAM (AIS) - JPN
3. OCBC SINGAPORE CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM (TSI) - SIN
4. TABRIZ PETROCHEMICAL TEAM (TPT) – IRI
5. SYNERGY BAKU CYCLING PROJECT (BCP) – AZE
6. KSPO (KSP) – KOR
7. CCN GIOS CYCLING TEAM (CCN) – BRU
8. GIANT-CHAMPION SYSTEM PRO CYCLING (MSS) - CHN
3. HONG KONG