Dec 18, 2012
GUARDINI RETURNS TO LTDL WITH “DREAM TEAM” ASTANA
KUALA LUMPUR, WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2012 - For the third consecutive year, Andrea Guardini will be one of the stars of Le Tour de Langkawi. After initiating his pro career with a flamboyant victory on the Paradisiacal island of Langkawi in 2011, the Italian pocket-rocket broke two records in the past edition of the race as he became the first rider to bag six stage victories in the same LTdL and the most successful cyclist ever in the history of the Malaysian event with a total of eleven wins. He has since transferred from Pro Continental team Farnese Vini to Pro Team Astana.
“Le Tour de Langkawi is the race of my heart”, Guardini explained. “I like the warmth of the country and its people. The whole environment of this race motivates me tremendously. When I discussed my new contract with Astana, it wasn’t difficult to agree on the fact that I’d take part in Le Tour de Langkawi again. The team management has told me straight away that this is a very important race for Astana, as we are the only Pro Team from Asia.”
Astana is now managed by Alexandre Vinokourov who started his 2012 campaign in Malaysia and put an end to his career with a remarkable Olympic title in London. “It’s been fantastic to have Vinokourov back here”, commented the chief operating officer of Le Tour de Langkawi Emir Abdul Jalal. “To see him winning the Olympic road race has been one of the highlights of the 2012 season for Malaysian cycling fans after he participated to our event and gave a great show as well. His aggressive spirit has inspired a lot of kids who now take up cycling.”
Another highlight of 2012 has been Guardini’s victory over Mark Cavendish in stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia. “This also added value to our event”, realized Emir Abdul Jalal. “I know how much work I yet have to do to perform in the Grand Tours but I’m tempted to have a go at the 2013 Tour de France since stage 1 suits the sprinters”, Guardini explained.
The 23 year old is aware that he’ll face a stronger opposition in the sprints of the next LTdL with more Pro Teams attending the race and Europcar bringing their new star Bryan Coquard who is another sprinter in the making after collecting the silver medal for omnium at the London Olympics. “Track background is an enormous bonus for sprinting”, said Guardini who is a former European champion for keirin.
By a temperature of -37 degrees in the capital of Kazakhstan, Guardini recently took part in the launch of the so-called “Dream Team” Astana that has also attracted super stars Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang. He got to know a young sprinter who will line up on his side at Le Tour de Langkawi: Alexey Lutsenko is the current world champion in the U23 category. Another young attraction of LTdL will be 21 year old Italian climber Fabio Aru. A winner of the Tour of Valle d’Aosta, he should find himself at ease in the Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands alongside Alexandr Dyachenko who finished 4th overall at the 2012 Le Tour de Langkawi prior to winning the Tour of Turkey.
“It’s no surprise for us that Vinokourov has selected an excellent team for Le Tour de Langkawi, it’s an honour for us to welcome them again and they look like able to win a lot on all terrains”, concluded Emir Abdul Jalal.
The LTdL 2013, which carries the slogan "The Heat is On", will officially begin in Kangar on February 21 and the race comprises 10 stages, covering 1427.6 kilometres.
The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.HC (hors category) race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
The 18th edition of the race is marked not only by its return to its legendary birthplace, but also a challenging route which features two tough climbs up Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands.
PRO TEAM ASTANA FOR LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI :
Andrea GUARDINI (ITA), Alexandr DYACHENKO (KAZ), Fabio ARU (ITA), Arman KAMYSHEV (KAZ), Alexey LUTSENKO (KAZ), Ruslan TLEUBAYEV (KAZ).