Feb 29, 2012


29th February 2012, GENTING HIGHLANDS - As he did three years ago, José Serpa followed up stage victory in Le Tour de Langkawi with another win atop the climb of Genting Highlands and, with four stages left to be covered, is in a very strong position to take his second overall triumph in the race.

Rather than the predicted clash between Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela) and Tom Danielson (Garmin Barricuda), today’s strongest riders ended up being Serpa and Victor Nino Corridor (Azad University Cross).

After tussling the whole way up the climb, the 32 year old Colombian beat his 38 year old compatriot by two seconds. Rujano suffered due to not eating enough and crossed the line 46 seconds back.

Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela) completed the top five.

“I expected to do well, but I expected Rujano to be in the lead tonight,” said Serpa. “However in the final kilometres he got a hunger flat. I was feeling well – I stayed on Victor Nino’s wheel and from there I could take the stage win.

“It was not my intention to attack Rujano but because he had a crisis, I had to do so.”

The tough finishing climb shook things up considerably, and put paid to the hopes of overnight leader Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Cycling) and the rider who was sitting second overall, Tom Danielson (Garmin Barracuda).

Neither were on good days and finished 59th and 74th respectively. According to Danielson, the after-effects of his crash on Sunday were responsible for his drop in form.

“Unfortunately my body’s way off because of my crash…when you crash like that coming to a sprint finish, it takes a lot out of you. I’m doing the best I can, but obviously it’s not what I want.”

In contrast, Serpa’s dominance and Rujano’s solid ride saw them end the day first and second overall in the overall standings, thirty seconds apart, with Nino Corridor a further 26 seconds back in third. Dyachenko and Rodriguez are fourth and fifth.


The full complement of 124 riders lined out on today’s stage, with no withdrawals happening overnight. Shortly after the depart from the Proton headquarters in Shah Alam, a group of six slipped away. However they were reeled back in by Andrea Guardini’s Farnese Vini team.

A subsequent seven man attempt was more successful, opening a growing lead. The riders present were Assan Bazayev (Astana), Sonny Colbrelli (Colnago), Valery Valynin (RusVelo), Alireza Haghi (Azad), Loh Sea Keong (OCBC), Zainal Mohd. Rizuan (Malaysia) and James Williamson (New Zealand).

This septet built a gap of one and a half minutes by kilometre twelve, and this soared to approximately four minutes by the time they reached the category four climb of Puncak Alam (km 24). Williamson was first there, ahead of Loh and Rizuan.

The break’s advantage grew to five minutes very soon afterwards, putting Colbrelli into virtual race leadership.

Rizuan took the intermediate sprint at Coalfields (km 35), crossing the prime line ahead of Loh Sea Keong and Colbrelli.

The latter then took the second intermediate sprint at Paya Jaras (km 43.7), where their lead was four minutes 57 seconds. The group raced on to the final intermediate sprint prime of the day, where Rizuan beat Colbrelli and Haghi to the line.

With 40 kilometres to go, the gap was holding steady at five minutes. The situation was a little more complicated for Williamson, who punctured out of the move. However he got a quick change and was able to chase back on again.

Valynin cracked soon afterwards, reducing he number of those in the break to six. They were approximately four minutes clear with 25 kilometres to go. Soon afterwards, Rizuan also cracked and slipped back.

Once on the Genting Highlands climb, Loh Sea Keone also went south. Bazayev and Williamson pushed ahead, conscious things were about to really heat up behind.

Sure enough, 2010 champion José Rujano surged from the group behind, prompting Jose Serpa, Victor Nino Corridor and Carlos Ochoa to give chase and join up. The other contenders were unable to keep pace, including Danielson.

Bazayev left Williamson and gave his all to stay clear. However he was finally reeled in 15 kilometres from the summit, after which Rujano surged and put Ochoa out the back.

The latter got back on but Rujano continued to ride aggressively. Behind, the, next riders were 50 seconds back and making no real inroads into the leaders. It became increasingly clear that those out front would not be caught.

Serpa sensed that victory was possible and with Rujano weakening due to hunger knock, he attacked hard with seven kilometres to go in order to get rid of Nino Corridor. The latter managed to get back up to him but was no match for his compatriot in the final kilometre, with Serpa snatching both the stage win and the yellow jersey.

The race now continues with four flatter stages, where this year’s triple stage winner Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini – Selle Italia) is expected to add to his tally. Serpa is likely to come under attack, although it will be a difficult task for any of his rivals to get back into the frame.

Danielson’s Garmin Barracuda team has promised to ride aggressively in the days to come, but stage wins will now be the priority. The same applies to many other squads in the race, who now find themselves too far back after the showdown on the Genting Highlands.

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.

Feb 28, 2012


28 Feb 2012, PANDAN INDAH, AMPANG - Australian Darren Lapthorne jumped from third to first overall in the Tour de Langkawi today, riding superbly on the toughest stage thus far and grabbing hold of the yellow jersey. He finished just behind former race winner Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuala) into Pandan Indah, with the duo completing today’s 190 kilometre race eleven seconds ahead of Matteo Rabottini (Farense Vini – Selle Italia) and four others.

A bigger chase group came in 24 seconds back and contained most of the GC contenders, with the exception of overnight race leader Dave Zabriskie and Adam Phelan (Drapac Cycling). The former unexpectedly cracked after leading the race since last Friday, losing 19 minutes 35 seconds by the finish.

As for the latter, he pulled out during the stage. Injuries sustained earlier in the race were stated to be the cause; the net effect was that Tom Danielson, who started the day fourth overall, jumped up to second.

Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana Pro team) moved up to third, 46 seconds back, while the 2010 race winner Jose Rujano is now fourth.

“I’m surprised as I didn’t think Zabriskie would fall back today,” said Lapthorne at a press conference held in heavy rain. “I thought he had such a good lead, and also my team-mate Adam Phelan – who was coming second overall – pulled out earlier in the stage. When I heard that during the race that my team-mate and Zabriskie were off the back, it gave me extra motivation, I thought there was chance that maybe I would become race leader tonight.”

Lapthorne said that he knows he has a big fight on his hands to remain in yellow, but that he will give it his all to do so.

The rider who was up against him today is also determined to put in a big ride on tomorrow’s Genting Highlands climb.

“I hope to be able to do what I did on my first visit to Malaysia in 2006, winning on a flat stage finish and then the day after winning up to Genting,” he said. “This is my seventh victory of my career, and this is my first victory as a dad. So I’m happy.”

How it played out:

128 riders started the fifth stage of the race in Air Keroh, with warm, bright conditions contrasting with the heavy rainfall and overcast skies which preceded the previous stage.

The route was the toughest yet in the 2012 Tour de Langkawi, with the category two climbs of Bukit Tangga (km 102) and Genting Perez (km 148.8) rearing up before the category three ascent of Bukit Tinjau, ten kilometres from the end of the stage.

Immediately after the official start of racing, a break of five riders moved clear. These included King of the Mountains Floris Goesinnen, Yasuharu Nakajima (Aisan Racing Team), Nicholas Francesco Squillari and Sea Keong Loh (OCBC Singapore) plus Ali Ahmad Fallanie (Malaysia). The bunch reacted to chase them down by kilometre five, splitting temporarily in the process.

Further attacks followed by things were all together for the first intermediate sprint, that at Tampin (km 31.3). There, Salleh Harrif (Terengganu) beat Hassan Suhardi (Malaysia) and Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini Selle Italia) for the prime.

The bunch split and reformed a couple of times, keeping the pressure on the riders. That pace ensured that 47.8 kilometres were covered in the first hour of racing, and also saw OCBC Singapore rider Marcus Leong and Drapac’s Adam Phelan withdraw. The latter had been sitting second overall, and so his retirement was of major importance.

Salleh was triumphant again in the second intermediate sprint, finishing ahead of Jacobe Keough (United Healthcare) and Surhardi into Chembong (km 54.8).

Soon after, a group of twelve went clear, with the number including mountains leader Goesinnen, yesterday’s breakaway rider Louis Crosby (New Zealand), former Vuelta a Espana stage winner Robert Forster (United Healthcare) and nine others. They were chased down by the Garmin team and things came back together just before the third intermediate gallop in Senawang, 75.7 kilometres after the start.

There, Goesinnen beat Ghader Misbani (Tabriz Petrochemical team) and James Williamson (New Zealand).

A more dangerous looking move clipped away very soon afterwards, and contained riders such as Asian favourite Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Goesinnen, Williamson, Mizbani Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela), Craig Lewis (Champion System), Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giocattoli), Paolo Locatelli (Colnago - CSF Inox), Thomas Bertolini (Farnese Vini), Anthony Charteau, Yohann Gene (Europcar), Joseph Cooper (New Zealand), Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare) and Rhy Pollock (Drapac).

They had established a lead of twenty seconds by kilometre 83, but split into a smaller quartet of Gene, Pollock, Williamson and De Marchi soon afterwards. The others were recaptured while those four persisted and had a gap of just under four minutes when they started the first of the day’s two categorized climbs, Bukit Tangga.

Williamson was first to the top there, ahead of Pollock, De Marci and Gene. He was concerned by the time gap drop to one minute and pushed on ahead alone, extending his lead to one minute 40 seconds over chaser Shinichi Fukushima (Terengganu).

His three former breakaway companions were sandwiched inbetween the two individuals and regained contact with Williamson approximately 115 kilometres into the stage. Fukushima kept chasing and finally succeeded in bridging at kilometre 132.

However it was all in vain, as the peloton got back up to them ten kilometes later, on the slopes of Gening Perez.

Race leader Dave Zabriskie blew up on the ascent and lost his grip on the yellow jersey. Meanwhile Matteo Rabottini was first to the summit of the climb, taking maximum KOH points ahead of Adiq Othman (Champion System), Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela) and Chan Jae Jang (Terengganu Cycling Team).

On the descent of the climb, Malaysian sprinter Anuar Manan (Champion Systems) crashed. Fortunately his injuries were not serious and he was able to continue on to the finish. Meanwhile last year’s race winner Yonnatha Monsalve (Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela), Adiqu Othman, Rabottini and Andrey Zeits (Astana) clipped away and had established a 38 second lead over lone chaser Michael Torckler (New Zealand) with 25 kilometres to go.

There was a further reshuffle after the day’s final climb, with Serpa, Rabottini, Mizbani, Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Cycling), Alexsandr Dyachenko (Astana Pro Team), Mohammad Saufi Mat Senan (Terengganu Cycling Team), Othman and Victor Nino Corridor (Azad University) pushing ahead.

Lapthorne then attacked from this group with five kilometres to go, holding a solo lead until Serpa bridged across with one kilometre remaining.

The latter proved quickest in the dash for the line, but the Australian rider also secured a place atop the podium through taking over the race lead.

Tomorrows stage to the top of Genting Highlands is likely to be the big decider of the race.

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.


27 FEBRUARY 2012, MUAR - Triumphant on stages two and three, Andrea Guardini clocked up yet another win on the Tour de Langkawi today, further underlining his superb abilities in the final moments. The Farnese Vini – Selle Italia rider was best at the end of the 169.4 kilometre trek from Batu Pahat to Muar, beating Jacobe Keough (United Healthcare), Salleh Hariff (Terengganu Cycling Team) and the rest of the main bunch to the line.

The stage was marked by an extremely rapid finish, with the peloton successfully chasing down the day’s break and catching the final rider from that move, Louis Crosby (New Zealand), with just 75 metres to go.

Guardini got past him at that point, prompting Crosby to sit up in resignation and allowing sixteen others to swoop past.

The Kiwi had gone clear eight kilometres after the start with Rhys Pollock (Drapac Cycling), Kevin Reza (Europcar) and Shinichi Fukushima (Terengganu Cycling), and still had two minutes’ lead with ten kilometres to go.

The gap seemed insurmountable, but Guardini said that he never gave up hope. “With 30 kilometres to go, when the difference was five minutes, nobody believed any more that there would be a bunch sprint today,” he explained. “But we believed we could do it. We calculated that with ten seconds per kilometre, we could catch them, and we respected this time to catch them just in time in the last kilometre.

“We received a big help from the Astana team and Mr. Vinokourov himself, and that is how we managed to get across in the last kilometre. I then opened up my sprint with 300 metres to go.”

Race leader Dave Zabriskie rolled across the line in 70th place, preserving his one minute advantage in the general classification. It was a wearing day for his Garmin Barracuda team, with those riders doing the bulk of the work in chasing the break down. Guardini’s Farnese Vini Selle Italia squad came through later, as did Alexander Vinokourov’s Astana team.

Zabriskie had a solid time advantage over the breakaway riders heading into the stage, with Pollock the best placed, three minutes 18 seconds back. He said that this fact affected the team’s tactics and chasing.

“I think the best-placed guy was three minutes down, so we just had to get it manageable,” he said. “The guys have been doing some great work. It has taken its toll a little bit so it was good to see some other teams get up there and help out.”

Guardini said however that his team-mates might play things a little differently tomorrow due to its harder profile.

“We will have to see how it goes during the stage, and mostly we’ll have to see how my team-mates are going,” he said. “It mostly depends on them as they spent a lot of energy taking me to the win today. It will depend more on them than me if I am up there for the win tomorrow.”

If he is, and if he manages to triumph again, he will equal Graeme Brown’s stage winning-record of nine. At this point, few would bet against him matching or beating that statistic.

Ambitious break goes close:

Today’s stage was marked by an extremely heavy downpour half an hour before the start, but fortunately the rain disappeared before the 128 riders rolled out of Batu Pahat. There was one rider missing; Guardini’s team-mate Rafael Andriato (Farnese Vini – Selle Italia) withdrew due to an arm injury.

This would in theory make things more complicated for Guardini, but he and his team would gamble that the Garmin Barracuda team of race leader Dave Zabriskie would chase to protect the yellow jersey.

The first two riders to try to go clear were Rhys Pollock (Drapac Cycling) and Adiq Hussainie (Champion System). Their move didn’t last long, but a subsequent attack by Pollock, Kevin Reza (Europcar), Shinichi Fukushima (Terengganu Cycling) and Louis Crosby (New Zealand) was more successful and daylight opened up.

The quartet quickly gained time. Having attacked approximately eight kilometres into the stage, they were almost two and a half minutes clear at kilometre thirteen and, coming up to the first intermediate sprint at Simpang Renggam (km 64), they were almost six minutes ahead.

Crosby, Fukushima, Pollock and Reza went over the prime line in that order, and did the same for the second sprint, that of Air Hitam (km 84.5). They completed two hours of racing shortly after that point, with the break averaging 43.3 kilometres per hour for that period.

Crosby was once again best in the third intermediate sprint (Batu Pahat, km 115.5) and – once again – Fukushima, Pollock and Reza were next in line.

The bunch was becoming a little more concerned at the extent of the time gap and the pace picked up behind. The effect was clear; the break’s advantage was down to just under five minutes 33 kilometres from the line, and Farnese Vini – Selle Italia’s appearance at the front of the peloton saw a new urgency being injected into things.

With 25 kilometres remaining, the break was four mintues ten seconds ahead. This fell to three minutes 22 seconds over the next five kilometres, then dropped to two minutes with ten kilometres to go.

The gap still appeared to be sufficient, but the Astana team aided Farnese Vini – Selle Italia in ramping the speed even higher. It became clear to those out front that the bunch was screaming in the road, prompting Crosby to try a lone attack.

The effort was a brave one, but he just missed out on the win. Guardini passed him 75 metres from the line, then several others got by. The Kiwi sat up and faded to 18th, his brave attempt at an end.

His team has been riding aggressively and may opt to try once again on tomorrow’s fifth stage, a more difficult 190 kilometre race from Ayer Keroh to Pandan Indah.

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.

Feb 26, 2012


PARIT SULONG - Twenty four hours after winning into Melaka, Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini was once again the star performer on today’s third stage of Le Tour de Langkawi. The Farnese Vini Selle Italia remained in position on a brief drag inside the final 500 metres, then kicked hard on the slight downhill to the line in Parit Sulong.

Garmin – Barracuda’s Raymond Kreder tried to get past him, but Guardini was too strong. He punched the air in celebration of what is his seventh stage victory in two years, and increased his grip on the blue points classification jersey.

Kreder took second, with Malaysian favourite Anuar Manan (Champion System) netting third.

The sprint happened after a long distance break was hauled back inside the final twenty kilometres. The last to persist were Shinichi Fukushima (Terrengganu Cycling Team) and Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team), who had won into Parit Sulong two years ago.

However the main field was too strong, its chase paving the way for the big gallop to the line.

“There was a king of the mountains prize with ten kilometres to go,” Guardini said after the finish. “Colnago tried to make the race hard, they tried to stay in the bunch, leaving me behind. But my team got me back and, like always, they were trying hard to do exactly what I wanted. I can savour their good job.”

Stage one time trial winner Dave Zabriskie suffered in the heat like the rest of the peloton, but had no other problems and finished in the main bunch. He continues in the yellow jersey of race leader, maintaining his one minute lead over Adam Phelan and one minute ten on the latter’s Drapac Cycling team-mate Darren Lapthorne.

"It was crazy hot out there today – it’s hot at the Tour, but there’s a humidity as well that’s very hard. it’s tough on the body, but its also hard to breathe,” he said. “This is my first race and I’m still setting into it, but hopefully I’ll be okay by Genting.”

His team-mate Tom Danielson, who started the day fourth overall, fell heavily close to the end and was last across the line.

He finished seven minutes 40 seconds behind Guardini and the peloton, but because the incident happened inside the final three kilometres, he was credited with the same time as the other riders and maintains his high general classification position.

He said on Twitter afterwards that he had very bad road rash on his right hand side, but was otherwise okay.

Aggressive beginning to stage

All 129 finishers from yesterday lined out for this morning’s start of the third stage of the Tour de Langkawi in Melaka, with the riders who went down in crashes yesterday all able to continue. That list of fallers includes the rider in second place overall, Adrian Phelan, who received stitches to his leg but was otherwise not too badly affected.

Like Danielson today, his crash yesterday fortunately took place inside the final three kilometres, thus ensuring he didn’t lose time to the other GC contenders.

Early on, Shinichi Fukushima (Terrengganu Cycling Team) and Suhardi Hassan (Malaysian national team) went clear, but were reeled in. A few more riders then tried their luck, but everything was together twenty kilometres into the 187.6 kilometre stage.

Almost immediately, though, four riders clipped away and started building a solid lead. The group comprised RTS Sport rider Alex Coutts, a persistent Fukushima, Ahmad Lutfi M. Fauzan and Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team); the latter was particularly motivated, as he won into today’s finishing town two years ago with a perfectly timed sprint.

After 31 kilometres of racing, the quartet out front were forty seconds clear of Xue Ming Xing (Max Success Sports) and Wijaya Endra (Indonesia), who were trying to get across. The peloton was one minute 37 seconds back and losing ground.

Race leader Dave Zabriskie’s Garmin-Barracuda team was setting the pace and initially gave the break some leeway. After one hour of racing, 43.5 kilometres covered, the peloton was four and a half minutes back; the two chasers were two minutes down, and thus looking highly unlikely to get across.

The primes begin:

There were a total of three intermediate sprints and one mountains prime on today’s mainly flat stage. The first of those was in Tangkak, 51.9 kilometres after the start and was taken by Fukushima ahead of Fauzan, Nishitani and Coutts.

At that point the two chasers were three minutes back and facing a hopeless cause to reach the front. The peloton was four minutes 15 seconds behind, and caught the duo soon afterwards. However it continued to lose time to the leaders, who surpassed five minutes’ advantage at the 69 kilometre point.

Nishitani had started the day three minutes and seven seconds back and so he was firmly race leader on the road. Fauzan won the intermediate sprint at Labis (km 119.3), but was pipped by Nishitani to take the next in Chaah (km 136).

The pendulum had swung, though, and the gap there was down to three minutes 50 seconds. Fauzan felt that the cause was a hopeless one and sat up, waiting for the bunch.
The others persisted and actually succeeded in extending their lead for some time, bringing the gap back up to four minutes and two seconds. However it started to drop again very soon after with 40 kilometres left, had nibbled it back to three minutes 20 seconds.

The advantage continued to be eroded and fell below a minute over the twenty kilometres or so. Coutts was dropped soon after that, leaving Fukushima and Nishitani out front alone. The two Japanese gave it everything to try to stay away, but were themselves caught before the summit of the category four Bukit Belah, which hit its high point 10.9 kilometres from the end.

There, the Colnago team did what it could to put Guardini under pressure. However he remained calm and stayed in contact, then moved back into position before blasting home for stage win number seven of his career.

Feb 25, 2012


25 FEBRUARY 2012, MELAKA - Immediately clicking back into the position he was in last year, Italian Andrea Guardini underlined his position as one of the top young sprinters in cycling when he won today’s second stage of the Tour de Langkawi.

The 22 year old picked up five out of the ten stages last season and is aiming to take a number of victories again in the Malaysian race.

He sped home into Melaka in front of Jacobe Keough (UnitedHealthcare), Christian Delle Stelle (Colnago-CSF Inox) plus the rest of the main field, and said afterwards that it was good to be back on top.

“I needed to come back to Malaysia to be a winner again,” he enthused. “This is my fourth stage race of the year and I didn’t manage to win any stage in the first three. That was partly because of bad luck and partly because my adversaries were stronger than me.

“I wanted to win from the start in Argentina but I couldn’t. Now I have found the serenity that I needed in Malaysia. It is easier for me to be quiet. I have managed to win here on the first occasion. Thanks to my team-mates who put me in the right position to sprint.”

Overnight race leader Dave Zabriskie had no major scares during the stage and easily retained his yellow jersey. He has a one minute lead over Adam Phelan (Drapac Cycling), who crashed just inside the final three kilometres and ended up finishing last on the stage. Fortunately for the Austrian, the location of the incident meant that he didn’t lose any time.

Zabriskie was happy to steer out of problems on the 151 kilometre race and credited the Garmin-Barracuda riders as being of big importance in doing that. `I expected very hot conditions here and it was very hot indeed. I just wanted to say thank you to the team, who did an amazing job today controlling the race. It is great to be in the jersey again.”
The second stage began in Putrajaya, close to the location of yesterday’s time trial. Sea Keong Loh (OCBC Singapore) attacked after ten kilometres and was joined soon after by Foris Goesinnen (Drapa Cycling). Together, they quickly opened 30 seconds.

Soon after, Zinal Mohammad Nor Rizuan (Malaysia national team) started chasing and tried to get across to the others.

At the first sprint at Salak Tinggi, 22.5 kilometres after the start, Sea Keong Leo took the points ahead of Goesinnen. Rizuan was still chasing along while back in the bunch, two minutes behind the leaders, Anuar Manan (Champion System) led the peloton across the line for fourth.

Goesinnen was first to the top of the category four climb at Bkt Pelandok, 38.2 kilometres into the stage. He led Sea Keong Loh across the line there, while behind Rizuan continued to chase alone.

Colombian climber Freddy Gonzalez (Azad University) was first from the bunch, netting fourth place there.

The two leaders rode well together and raced on towards the day’s second intermediate sprint at Port Dickson (km 62.6). Sea Keong Loh finished ahead of Goesinnen there, while behind Rizuan was about to be closed up by the peloton but just held on for third ahead of Salleh Harrif (Terengganu). His break ended very soon afterwards.

A time check eight kilometres later put the two leaders three minutes 44 seconds ahead as they raced towards the category four climb of Linggi. Their advantage went up to four minutes fifteen soon afterwards, the highest level they would succeed in building.

After two hours of racing, the leaders had covered 86 kilometres, and still had 55 kilometres remaining. The Garmin team had been doing the chasing up until this point, and were later joined around this time by some from the Farnese team of Andrea Guardini.

This collaboration had the desired effect on the gap, and it was down to just over one minute with 25 kilometres left. RTS Racing rider Lee Rodgers seized the chance and bridged across, but the gap continued to drop and was down to 29 seconds with ten kilometres to go.

The bunch made the junction approximately five kilometres later and from there to the line the various sprinters’ teams did what they could to put their fastest riders into place. Farnese Vini did things perfectly, giving Guardini the perfect leadout from which to reach the sixth Langkawi stage of his short career.

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.


24 FEBRUARY 2012, PUTRAJAYA - Living up to his status as the pre-race favorite by winning the stage one time trial at the Tour de Langkawi in Putrajaya , Dave Zabriskie nevertheless surprised many by the margin of his victory.

The American Garmin-Barracuda rider tore around the mainly flat 20.3 kilometre course in a time of 24 minutes 38.18 seconds, averaging an impressive 49.5 kilometres per hour and opening a huge gap over the other riders.

Runner up Adam Phelan was one minute back, with his Drapac Cycling team-mate Darren Lapthorne a further ten seconds behind.

“I didn’t really have any confirmation of how my time was until the whole thing was over,” said a delighted Zabriskie afterwards. ‘This is great.

His own team-mate Tom Danielson was fourth, thus confirming the good form he recently spoke about.

The latter’s goal was to take as much time as possible out of his rivals today and, by and large, he did that; he beat each of the other five past Langkawi champions, with Jose Serpa and Yonnattha Mosalve (both Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela) losing at least a minute, and Freddy Gonzalez (Azad University Cross team) plus Anthony Charteau (Europcar) conceding over two.

However 2010 champion Jose Rujano pulled out a superb effort to limit his losses to just nine seconds to the 2003 winner. The tiny climber covered the distance in almost the same time as Danielson, setting things up for a ding-dong battle on the Genting Highalnds climb in five days. But Zabriskie isn’t ruling out being a contender either.

“They’re all close together. It’ll come down to the hilly stage, the Genting stage.

It’s my first time down here but I think I’m climbing a lot better than I was last year,” he said.

The race against the clock began at 9am when Roman Van Uden accelerated down the start ramp to begin his effort. He held the initial best time, as expected from the first starter, but this was later beaten by eighteen others, who beat his 26 minutes 46 seconds mark.

The first to do so was the aforementioned Lapthorne, who motored around the course with a time that would be good enough for third in the final ranking. He moved to the top of the standings early on, but team-mate Phelan then passed him 22 minutes later and took over ownership.

However Phelan’s tenure at the top was also limited, with Zabriskie scorching home an hour and fifteen seconds later to grab stage honours and the first yellow jersey of the race.

Tomorrow’s stage sees the riders cover 151 kilometres from Putrajaya to Melaka.

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.

Feb 24, 2012


KUALA LUMPUR - With no fewer than six former winners of Le Tour de Langkawi taking part in this year’s race, the stage is set for a massive battle over the ten stages of the event, starting tomorrow.

The 2003 winner Tom Danielson is riding the race for the third time in his career and is determined to once again fight for the yellow jersey. He will square up against other past victors Freddy Gonzalez (2004, now Azad University Cross team), Anthony Charteau (2007, Europcar), plus the Androni Venezuela trio of Jose Serpa, Jose Rujano and Yonnatha Monsalve, who triumphed in the past three years.

Danielson was eighth in last year’s Tour de France, riding superbly in his debut in the race, and is determined to step up a level this season. He wants to aim for a podium finish in the Tour and, as part of that push for higher results, also wants to win stage races in the run-up to the July event.

As he explained, victory in the Tour de Langkawi would be very significant for him. “Malaysia is a very special place to me and when I was sitting down with my director sportif last year, Jonathan Vaughters, speaking about my race schedule, I heard that we had an opportunity to do the Tour de Langkawi,” he said. “I immediately raised my hand and said, ‘let's go to that race, I really, really want to do to that race.’ For me this race is so so special because I really started my career here. It got me noticed on the European scene, got me to Europe on Fassa Bortolo and I am very, very thankful to the event as a result.”

One of those who spoke to the press at the specially-convened outdoor conference after the gitzy team presentation was Team Astana's Alexandre Vinokourouv. Unlike several of those who spoke to the press, he hasn’t won the race in the past. However it is also of significance to him and, if his fitness is sufficient after a near-career ending crash last July, he’ll fight for results between now and Sunday March 4th.

“I'm happy to come back to the country where everything started for me,” the quiet-spoken Kazakhstan rider said. “This was the first race I started as a first year professional back in 1997, and so my career started from here.

“It was hot today, but the presentation here went very well and I am looking forward to racing again, and to riding the time trial tomorrow. This is my first stage race since I had a bad crash in the Tour de France last year.”

Another who is starting in an ambitious frame of mind is the Malaysian hero Anuar Manan. Two years ago he became the first rider from the country to win a stage in the race, and also took the points jersey for most consistent sprinter.

He’s now with the new Chinese Pro Continental outfit Champion System, and with a leadout team fully committed to him for the flat stages, will be ideally positioned to take on other strong sprinters such as Andrea Guardini.

“I am feeling good about this year,” he said, smiling. “I had good preparation and I have good legs for Langkawi. This year I alas have good team-mates and I think I have no problem to win a stage this year. I will try to get the green jersey again.”

Danielson is aiming for a different colour, that of yellow, but is reluctant to predict that he’ll be the one to succeed. He’s determined to take things day by day rather than fixate about what will happen at the end of the race; if he rides well and things fall into place, he’ll be number one.

“Win is a big word,” he answered, when asked if he could take the overall honours. “I really can't quantify winning, I don't know what that means yet. There is going to be a lot of obstacles, a lot of great competition, a lot of great battles. I think I can ride well here, and we will see what well means at the end of the race.”

Tomorrow’s opening stage is a 20.3 kilometre time trial in Putrajaya, which will immediately set out who will be the riders in contention. Danielson and his team-mate Dave Zabriskie should be right in the thick of the battle, while the other former race winners may find themselves losing time due to their preference for climbs rather than time trials.

This should set things up for an exciting battle on Genting Highlands, the race’s toughest finish.

After tomorrow, there will be stage finishes in Melaka, Parit Sulong, Muar, Pandan Indah, Genting Highlands, Kuantan, Chukai, and two in Kuala Terengganu. 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.

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 (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).

Feb 12, 2012


13 February 2012, KUALA LUMPUR - As a result of the cancellation of two Italian races, the Tour of Sardegna and the Tour of Friuli, Colombia’s José Serpa has had a change of program and will return to Malaysia to take part in Le Tour de Langkawi from February 24 to March 4.

“Serpa was initially scheduled for these two Italian races following his results last year: he finished 2nd in the Tour of Sardegna and won the Tour of Friuli”, team manager Gianni Savio from Androni Giocattoli explained. “As a matter of fact, these organizers have made me a favor because it gives me the opportunity to send Serpa to Malaysia again. For sure I’m delighted to add José to our line up in a race that is close to my heart.”

Le Tour de Langkawi is also very special for Serpa, as this was his first race as professional after an eleventh hour UCI registration and a long and tiring trip from South America to Asia back in 2006. However, he won the flat stage to Kuala Selangor and the grueling uphill finish of Genting Highlands back to back. For four years in a row, Serpa has won at least one stage at Le Tour de Langkawi until he eventually claimed the overall classification as well on his last appearance in 2009. He’s the only climber to have imposed himself three times at Genting Highlands where he’s actually unbeaten as the famous stage was not contested in 2008.

Serpa’s participation to the 2012 Le Tour de Langkawi increases to six the number of former winners on the start line in Putrajaya, the home of Malaysian government. Tom Danielson (2003) riding for Garmin-Barracuda, Freddy Gonzalez (2004) now with Azad University, Europcar’s Anthony Charteau (2007) will also try to equal the score of Paolo Lanfranchi who is the only rider to have LTdL twice (1999, 2001) up to date. But the chances remain higher that the title will stay in the camp of the Androni Giocattoli team with the past three winners in the same team: Serpa (2009) and Venezuelans José Rujano (2010) and Yonatta Monsalve (2011).

“Starting with the favors of the prognostic means that we’ll be even more watched and marked”, Savio commented. “As always, we’ll do our best to honor the race but we’ll have to be even more attentive of what our rivals will be doing in the flat stages. Tactically, it won’t be easy.”

Serpa’s late inclusion on the start list has brought some more happiness at the office of Le Tour de Langkawi in Kuala Lumpur. “This is another great champion coming back to our event”, enjoyed chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “Serpa’s return to Malaysia after two years of absence will be warmly welcomed by the numerous fans he has made here during his four years of glory at Le Tour de Langkawi. As he recently finished sixth overall at the Tour de San Luis won by Levi Leipheimer over Alberto Contador, he obviously has good form for the early part of the cycling season once again.”

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.

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 (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).


Feb 8, 2012


9 February 2012, KUALA LUMPUR - Cycling fans worldwide deserve heroes they can believe in and Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) supports the fight against using illegal performance enhancing drugs to compete in cycle sport. LTdL 2012 will be entering it’s third year partnership with BikePure, the organisers believe that cycling only wants ethical role models.

With a new tagline 'Ready For the World', the 17th edition in 2012 will be one that showcases the race's readiness to become part of the UCI World Tour series. In line with this, the aim to promote honest, ethical sport is as important as ever.

With a proven track record, including another accolade of being recognised by the International Cycling Union (UCI) who accorded the 2011 edition with an ‘Excellent Level of Organization’ through its recent official letter, LTdL has acquired enormous respectability on the world cycling stage as a fantastic event, both in organization and the quality of racing.

Each element within cycle sport including the race organizers has their own role to play. LTdL has shown by this partnership, that they want their champions to win with honor and have respect for their fellow riders efforts.

Andy Layhe, co-founder of Bike Pure expressed their appreciation to the organisers for supporting the effort to honest, ethical cycling, “We are delighted to continue our longstanding partnership to the Tour de Langkawi. For the race organisers to show their support for our ethical sporting and anti-doping message means a great deal to us and their commitment to Bike Pure speaks volumes in relation to race organisers who are willing to send a clear, concise message that they won't tolerate or condone cheating in their event.”

“The Tour de Langkawi is growing in stature each year and it is a pleasure to be associated with such a prolific event on cycling's world stage.” He added.

In a positive move, LTdL 2012 officials and staff will wear a specially commissioned Le Tour de Langkawi ‘Ready for the world’ Bike Pure wristband to show their affiliation. The wristbands will also be handed out to teams, officials and riders alike at the event.

LTdL2012 chief operating officer, Emir Abdul Jalal is delighted with the partnership continued for the third year running, “Major events like Le Tour de Langkawi are put together at a great expense and no organizer wishes to see their event tarnished with a doping scandal. Sponsors emphasize on positive media attention, and one single rider could destroy all this investment.”

“Being the first major Asian event this year to fully partner Bike Pure again, we feel responsible to continue this effort and set an example for all other events regardless of big or small to support fair competition and a drug-free sport.” He added.

LTdL 2012 is expected to feature 22 professional teams including two ProTour teams Garmin-Barracuda and Astana ProTeam.

Please visit the Bike Pure website at http://www.bikepure.org for the latest information and the official race site at http://www.ltdl.com.my

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.

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 (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).



KUALA TERENGGANU - DENGAN membariskan empat pelumba muda kelahiran tempatan dan dua pelumba berpengalaman dari Jepun dan Korea Selatan, Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team (TSG) meletak sasaran berani untuk meraih sekurang-kurangnya kemenangan pada satu peringkat pada edisi ke-17 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), 24 Februari hingga 4 Mac ini.

Dalam majlis pelancaran TSG yang berlangsung di Pantai Batu Burok, Kuala Terengganu semalam yang dilancarkan Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, beliau meletakkan sasaran yang tinggi buat pasukan Kalahari negeri Terengganu itu.

“Saya mempunyai wawasan yang tinggi untuk meletakkan TSG dinaikkan kepada sebuah pasukan yang bertaraf lebih tinggi daripada sebuah pasukan bertaraf benua ketika ini kepada pasukan profesional benua dan akhirnya kepada status ProTour. Saya mahu melihat TSG menjadi sebuah kuasa berbasikal yang besar. Kami benar-benar bekerja keras untuk mencapai wawasan ini terutama daripada segi penajaan, ia bukan mudah tetapi itulah sasaran yang akan kami usahakan,” katanya.

Bagi LTdL tahun ini, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said turut memberi tekanan supaya TSG memberi tumpuan untuk cuba menjuarai antara peringkat terakhir di Terengganu.

“Setiap daerah di negeri ini bakal meletakkan barisan penyokong yang ramai di sepanjang laluan untuk memberi sorakan kepada pelumba kami, ia pasti memberi rangsangan motivasi yang tinggi untuk mereka berusaha lebih keras untuk mencari kemenangan.”

Pada majlis pelancaran pasukan TSG itu, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said turut merasmikan Bulan Berbasikal Terengganu yang berlangsung di sepanjang Februari hingga LTdL 2012 tamat.

Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif (CEO) TSG, Mohd Sophian Abu Bakar berkata, biarpun kehilangan pakar pecut Anuar Manan yang pernah memberikan kemenangan sensasi satu peringkat serta gelaran Raja Pecut LTdL 2010, TSG mempunyai pengganti, Mohd Hariff Salleh yang tidak kurang hebatnya dan dianggap mampu membuat kejutan pada henjutan beramai-ramai ke garisan penamat.

Hariff, 24, adalah pelumba yang memegang watak pembantu kepada Anuar Manan sebelum ini tetapi selepas pemergian Anuar ke pasukan baru Champion System, Hariff yang pernah sekali berdiri di podium ketiga pada Peringkat 1 LTdL 2011, mendapat peluang terbaik untuk membuktikan kemampuannya.

Pemenang tiga pingat emas di Sukan SEA Indonesia 2011 dan pelumba terbaik siri Sirkit Grand Prix Kebangsaan ini akan dibantu abangnya, Mohd Zamri Salleh dan pelumba Korea, Jang Chan-jae untuk membawanya ke kelompok depan sebelum dia beradu kekuatan dan cuba merealisasikan impian besar pengurusan TSG.

Mohd Sophian menjadi harapan besar pasukan itu untuk melihat Hariff memenangi sekurang-kurangnya satu peringkat pada tiga peringkat terakhir yang berakhir di negeri Terengganu.

"Itu sasaran kami pada LTdL kali ini, selain memperbaiki kedudukan keseluruhan berpasukan tahun lalu di tempat kelapan keseluruhan dan kelima Asia pada edisi kali ini," kata Mohd Sophian.

Selain Mohd Hariff dan Mohd Zamri yang muncul juara Sirkit GP Kebangsaan 2011, dua lagi pelumba kelahiran Terengganu yang memperkuatkan cabaran TSG adalah pelumba terbaik kebangsaan di LTdL 2011 yang menduduki tangga ke-37, Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin dan pelumba terbaik pasukan itu di tangga ke-31 dan muncul juara kebangsaan 2011, Mohd Saufi Mat Senan.

Selain Chan-jae yang akan diberi peranan pembantu di laluan landai dan mendaki, TSG masih mengekalkan pelumba veteran berpengalaman Jepun, Shinichi Fukushima.

Namun menyedari tugasan itu tetap sukar, lebih-lebih lagi dengan acara Ujian Masa Individu pada Peringkat 1 di Putrajaya dan pendakian ke Genting Highlands di Peringkat 6, TSG membuat persiapan lebih rapi untuk menghadapi LTdL 2012 kali ini dengan mengadakan kem latihan pusat di Chiang Rai, Thailand dari 3 Januari hingga 6 Februari lalu.

Malah pengurusan turut membawa masuk jurulatih baru dari Perancis, Sebastian Duclos untuk membimbing sejak awal Januari lalu dan Duclos juga akan mencaturkan strategi pasukan itu kali ini.

Sejak pulang ke Terengganu dua hari lalu, TSG akan menyambung latihan dengan tumpuan lebih diberikan kepada tiga laluan terakhir LTdL 2012 iaitu di Chukai, Kemasik, Tasik Kenyir dan Kuala Terengganu bagi membiasakan diri dan mengenali selok belok laluan.

"Selepas sebulan berada di Chiang Rai yang mempunyai laluan pendakian yang lebih sukar, saya berpendapat TSG akan tampil dengan lebih bersedia pada edisi LTdL kali ini. Yang penting, kami dapat mempersiapkan pasukan dengan lebih baik dan pelumba juga begitu fokus untuk bersaing," kata Mohd Sophian.
"Kami gembira melihat barisan pelumba TSG yang cukup hebat untuk bersaing tahun ini, mereka merupakan antara pasukan continental Asia yang akan melakukan kejutan dan tidak harus dipandang rendah." kata ketua pegawai operasi LTdL2012 Emir Abdul Jalal. “Tentunya peminat-peminat pasukan TSG mengharapkan kemenagan di salah satu peringkat pada edisi ini.”
LTdL 2012 dianjurkan Majlis Sukan Negara sebagai kesinambungan penganjuran oleh Kementerian Belia dan SUkan pada 2010 dan 2011, dengan kerjasama Persekutuan Kebangsaan Berbasikal Malaysia (MNCF). Jelajah ini kekal dengan status 2.HC (Hors Classe) dan diiktiraf serta diizinkan UCI dan UCI Asia Tour. LTdL 2012 dijangka membariskan 22 pasukan profesional.

Perlumbaan 10 hari itu akan bermula dengan acara Ujian Masa Individu sejauh 20.3 kilometer di Putrajaya; diikuti Peringkat 2 Putrajaya - Melaka (151.0km); Peringkat 3 Ayer Keroh - Parit Sulong (187.6km); Batu Pahat - Muar (169.4km); Ayer Keroh - Pandan Indah (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).



Feb 1, 2012


1 February 2012, KUALA LUMPUR - The overall winner of the 2007 Le Tour de Langkawi, Frenchman Anthony Charteau will be back to Malaysia after four years of absence. He’ll lead Team Europcar to a new challenge following their brilliant ride at the Tour de France last year with Thomas Voeckler wearing the yellow jersey in the mountains and Pierre Rolland winning the white jersey of best young rider in Paris.

“Le Tour de Langkawi has a special place in my heart”, said Charteau who was underestimated by the favorites in 2007 when he broke away to claim the victory in stage 3 to the Cameron Highlands. He defended his lead with great courage in Genting Highlands and proved later on to be a real climber as he won the King of the Mountain price of the 2010 Tour de France.

For two years, he rode for Caisse d’Epargne, but to his displeasure the Spanish team couldn’t line up at Le Tour de Langkawi. Back to his roots with Bbox Bouygues Telecom, now renamed Europcar, he won the Tour of Gabon back to back in the past two years, which kept him away from Malaysia. “But I’ve always wanted to ride Le Tour de Langkawi again despite the long trip from France”, Charteau said.

Yohann Gene had the same feeling after winning the last stage in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, in 2009. “Malaysia has the same kind of hot and humid climate as Guadeloupe where I come from”, said the 30 year old who became the first Frenchman from the Caribbean Islands to take part in the Tour de France last year.

Gene might be the lead out man for Europcar’s Italian recruit Matteo Pelucchi who is the team’s new sprinter from Italy. The French team also comes to Malaysia with a specialist of time trial, Jérome Cousin, and one of the country’s most promising riders, the 2008 European champion for the U23 road race Cyril Gautier who has been a member of the successful Tour de France team alongside Voeckler and Charteau in the past two years.

“The love affair between Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team and Le Tour de Langkawi is a long-living one”, commented the chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “They came as an amateur team called Vendée U to the very first LTdL back in 1996 and they returned in 2000 as soon as they became a professional team under the name of Bonjour. Their very first pro win was stage 3 of Le Tour de Langkawi from Taiping to Sitiawan with Damien Nazon twelve years ago! We appreciate very much how faithful they are to our country and we strongly hope to see them perform again this time around.”

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 (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).



-Ends -