Dec 6, 2010


7 December 2010, KUALA LUMPUR - After one year of absence, Gianni Savio’s team Androni will make its return to Le Tour de Langkawi (January 23rd - February 1st). “It’s been a heart-break in my 2010 cycling season to not be able to show up in Malaysia as much as I miss attending the races in Colombia”, said the legendary Italian team manager who used to be Colombia’s national coach for the world championships.

Scheduled in March this year, Le Tour de Langkawi couldn’t fit into the race program of the Androni-Diquigiovanni squad but the revamp of the Asia Tour UCI calendar with LTdL 2011 in the last week of January made the return of the giants possible.

Savio’s team has been a benchmark of the start-list of Le Tour de Langkawi; as much as the gruelling climb of Genting Highlands on the course. Their first appearance in the Malaysian event occurred in 2000 with a Colombian-registered team called Aguardiente-Nectar at the time. It didn’t take them long to find success as Jamie Drew claimed stage 2; the day after the inaugural prologue was won by Floyd Landis who was then far from the fame he eventually made for himself in the following decade.

Fortunato Baliani’s third place overall in 2000 paved the way for the Selle Italia team that won Le Tour de Langkawi on four occasions with Hernan Dario Munoz in 2002, Freddy Gonzalez in 2004, Ruslan Ivanov in 2008 and José Serpa in 2009. Savio’s team also holds the record of stage wins at the top of Genting Highlands as Munoz (2002-2003) and Ruber Marin (2004) preceded on the record book José Serpa (2006, 2007, 2009) who remains unbeaten in Malaysia’s worldwide known uphill resort.

“Malaysian fans have known us mostly under the name of Colombia-Selle Italia and Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, I hope they’ll quickly become familiar with Androni as well”, Savio added. “This is the continuity of the same team. However, we’ll bring riders who are all new to Le Tour de Langkawi but the identity of the team remains unchanged. We’ll come with determination and the intention to perform and honour the event.”

Androni will line up new recruits for the 2011 season with Emanuele Sella as a captain in Malaysia. “We hope that he can follow the path of Michele Scarponi who is joining Lampre for next year after finishing fourth at the Giro d’Italia with us. Both have encountered problems with doping, they have paid and we consider it fair to give them a second chance. We’ll bring two neo-professionals: Antonio Santoro from Italy and Yonnatta Monsalve from Venezuela. Those two riders bring me back to the 1989 when I gave a chance to Andrea Tafi and Leonardo Sierra, also an Italian and a Venezuelan who reached the highest performances in cycling later on.”

Santoro and Monsalve are ranked by experts as the climbers of the future. Santoro, 21, has a light format with 1.65m and 53kg. “Professional cycling is a new world for me”, Santoro commented. “I’ll discover it with a lot of respect. A win for my debut would almost be too much.”

Androni’s sprinter for Le Tour de Langkawi will be Crescenzo D’Amore, portrayed by Savio as his “crazy gamble”. At the age of 31, the 1997 junior world champion makes his return to professional cycling after three years of retirement. Alessandro De Marchi and Luca Barla will ride LTdL in support of the top scorers.

“We’re sure that Androni will come with a highly competitive squad”, said the CEO of Le Tour de Langkawi Mohamed Salleh. “Above all we’ll be happy to welcome Gianni Savio back to Malaysia. Among all cycling team managers, he’s probably the strongest supporter of our event.”

RIDERS : Emanuele SELLA, Antonio SANTORO, Yonnatta MONSALVE, Crescenzo D’AMORE, Alessandro De MARCHI, Luca BARLA

Le Tour de Langkawi 2011 is organized by the Youth and Sports Ministry of Malaysia together with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation. The 2011 Tour is scheduled to be held from 23rd January to 1st February covers a total distance of 1315.4 kms with 10 stages, starting in Langkawi Island and ending at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.


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