Dec 13, 2010
UNITEDHEALTHCARE ON THE FAST RISE
14 December 2010, Kuala Lumpur - Newly upgraded American outfit UnitedHealthcare will make their debut at Le Tour de Langkawi with a line up of mostly fast men.
The Malaysian event will be the first step of the international extension of the US team that has been very active on the transfers market worldwide. They attracted no less than German sprinter Robert Förster who is a Tour of Italy stage winner and an experienced Tour de France rider. Their recruit from ill-fated team Milram will start riding for a foreign team for the first time at the age of 33 when LTdL will kick off on the paradisiacal island of Langkawi on January 23rd.
Team director Mike Tamayo announced: “Le Tour de Langkawi has been a staple when you think of quality events at the beginning of the season. We are excited to take part in this year’s edition. Le Tour de Langkawi always holds an excellent event that sets the tone for the start of the season. Team UnitedHealthcare is hoping to use it as an opportunity to debut our international season.” European events are also scheduled for the first time by the Californian based squad.
Promoted by the UCI as a Pro Continental team, UnitedHealthcare obviously wants to make an impact as soon as the new season will begin. Le Tour de Langkawi enjoys a great reputation in the US since teams called Shaklee and Saturn collected the first American stage wins as early as in 1997 with Eric Wohlberg, Frank McCormack and Brian Walton. Chris Horner won the overall classification of Le Tour de Langkawi for Mercury in 2000, so did Tom Danielson for Saturn in 2003.
“We have a long tradition of American teams taking part in our event”, said the CEO of Le Tour de Langkawi Mohamed Salleh. “This is part of Malaysian hospitality. We want cyclists from all over the world to attend. Once again all the continents will be represented at LTdL in 2011.”
Another tradition of the Malaysian hors-category race is the bunch sprint finishes. That’s why Tamayo has given priority to his fast men as he determined his line up.
“We are bringing a fast team with Robert Forster, Boy Van Poppel, Hilton Clarke and Karl Menzies”, said the team director. “Our climbers for the two GC deciding days are Chris Jones and Max Jenkins. With so many opportunities for bunch sprints, we aligned our roster selection in a way to pursue stages.”
THE UNITEDHEALTHCARE TEAM LINE-UP:
RIDERS : Hilton CLARKE (Aus), Robert FÖRSTER (Ger), Max JENKINS (USA), Chris JONES (USA), Karl MENZIES (Aus), Boy VAN POPPEL (Ned)
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.