Jan 10, 2012
RUSVELO TO WRITE THE FIRST CHAPTER OF A NEW HISTORY AT LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI
10 January 2012, KUALA LUMPUR - An interesting attraction of the 2012 Le Tour de Langkawi will be the first participation of the newly born Pro Continental Russian team RusVelo. Despite their lack of history, they are likely to kick off with the label of hot favourite for the inaugural stage, which will consists in a 20km individual time trial in Putrajaya, the home of Malaysian government, on February 4. Former Russian national champion for time trial Artem Ovechkin will be a man to watch.
“RusVelo reminds us of Tinkoff”, noted Le Tour de Langkawi chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “This newly formed Russian team had their first race in Malaysian in 2007. They won their first race with Pavel Brutt in Seremban – this remains as one of the best stages ever contested at Le Tour de Langkawi. They carried on with enjoying great success at the Tour of Italy and they became the famous Katusha team later on. That’s what we like: raising talents in our beautiful and hospitable country.”
RusVelo’s team manager Heiko Salzwedel knows very well what this is all about. He was a pioneer of Le Tour de Langkawi as he brought from Australia the first winning team, Giant-AIS, back in 1996. “I have great memories about this race”, explained the famous German coach. “In 1996 and 1997 I was the sport’s director of a small Australian squad. We were a new, young team and our riders Damian McDonald won in 1996 and Jens Voigt finished 2nd overall in 1997. I hope we can have a similar impact this year with RusVelo and show that we are a strong and hungry team.”
“RusVelo is a new Professional Continental team from Russia consisting of exclusively Russian riders”, Salzwedel continued. “Our main goals for 2012 are the Olympic Games and the World Team Time Trial Championships. To achieve good results at these events we have gathered a homogenous mix of experienced riders and young athletes that have great potential. On the team management side we hired an international group of experts consisting amongst others of Viatcheslav Ekimov, Victor Popov, Henk Vogels and Egon van Kessel. Together, I truly believe that we can achieve amazing things in the future.”
Salzwedel made no mystery about his ambitions for a flying start. “Le Tour de Langkawi is very important to us and I believe we have a pretty strong team at the starting line”, he stated.” Artem (Ovechkin) can score a good result for us in the ITT while Sergey (Klimov) has the potential to do well in the GC. A stage win so early in the season would be great for us and boost the moral for the rest of the year.”
RusVelo’s sport’s director for Le Tour de Langkawi will be the former pro Henk Vogels who was one of Salzwedel’s first pupils in Australia. He rode LTdL on several occasions with French outfit Credit Agricole. “He can share valuable experiences especially with our young riders”, Salzwedel concluded.
LTdL 2012 is organised by the National Sports Council as a mark of continuity to the organisation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2010 and 2011 in collaboration with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation. The race maintains a 2.HC (Hors Classe) status and is recognised and sanctioned by the UCI and UCI Asia Tour. LTdL 2012 is expected to feature 22 professional teams.
The 10 day race begins on February 24 with Individual time trial along a 20.3 km course in Putrajaya to kick off the race; followed by stage 2 Putrajaya - Melaka (151.0km); Stage 3 Ayer Keroh - Parit Sulong (187.6km); Batu Pahat - Muar (169.4km); Ayer Keroh - Pandan Indah (187.2km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (215.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (169.4km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (116.6km).
RUSVELO FOR THE 2012 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
ALEXANDER KHATUNTSEV, SERGEI KLIMOV, ARTEM OVECHKIN, VALERY VALYNIN, IVAN SAVITSKY, MATVEY ZUBOV (ALL RUSSIANS)