KUALA LUMPUR, 27 January 2015 - The twentieth Le Tour de Langkawi will feature a prestigious start list when the race will kick off from Malaysia’s legendary island on March 8 for an eight-day journey to Kuala Lumpur via the east coast and Genting Highlands.
For the first time, double Tour de France winners Team Sky (with Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome in 2013) will top the list of the participating World Teams alongside returning Orica-GreenEdge, Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo.
“Those teams are four of the five very best in the world”, noted the CEO of the 2015 Le Tour de Langkawi Datuk Malik Mydin. “We’re talking about teams who have won three Tour de France, one Giro d’Italia and two Vuelta a España in the past three years. It’s a huge honour to have them racing in Malaysia. Their faith in our organization is very much appreciated.”
Astana won the 2013 Giro and the 2014 Tour with Vincenzo Nibali, Tinkoff-Saxo won the Vuelta with Alberto Contador in 2012 and 2014. Orica-GreenEdge led those three Grand Tours in the past two years: the 2013 Tour de France with former LTdL participants Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey, the 2014 Giro and Vuelta with Michael Matthews who also used LTdL as a stepping stone in his career with two stage wins in 2011 at the age of 19.
“It’s always fantastic to hear champions like Richie Porte saying that they’ve kept a found memory of Malaysia”, Datuk Malik said. “That’s the tradition we want to maintain as Le Tour de Langkawi is reaching the age of 20. That’s also why we insist on having a well balanced field that includes World Teams and Pro Continental teams but also third tier teams from continental level to give Asians and emerging cycling countries a chance to step up to the highest level.”
Seven Pro Continental teams will make their way to Malaysia with French outfit Bretagne-Séché taking part for the first time. “It means one more Tour de France team as they recently got a wild card for the second consecutive year”, Datuk Malik added. “We’re also glad that MTN-Qhubeka will come back to LTdL after they received their first ever invitation to the Tour de France.” Italian based Androni-Venezuela, Bardiani CSF and Southeast, all invited to the 2015 Giro d’Italia, will return to Langkawi, as well as Team Colombia who took the first yellow jersey with Duber Quintero last year and America’s Unitedhealthcare with a seriously reinforced roster.
Eleven continental teams, all from Asia and emerging cycling countries with close ties with Malaysia have been selected to complete the start list. It includes first timers Torku Sekerspor from Turkey and Skydive Dubai from the UAE as well as one more local team NSC, representing the National Sports Council of Malaysia, has joined the country’s favourites Terengganu in the continental ranks.