Feb 12, 2012
SERPA’S LATE INCLUSION MAKES IT SIX FORMER WINNERS AT LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI
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).