KUALA LUMPUR, MONDAY (3rd DECEMBER 2012) - Tour de France mountain stage winner and top-10 overall finisher Pierre Rolland will be back in action at Le Tour de Langkawi with Europcar from February 21 to March 2nd. The Frenchman announced his 2013 early season program highlighting the Malaysian event over the races of his country.
“I fell in love with Le Tour de Langkawi when I first took part in it
back in 2011”, Rolland said. At the time, he was trying to come out of
two quiet seasons with Bouygues Telecom following the immense promises
he gave with Credit Agricole as a neo pro in 2008. A King of the
Mountain at the Criterium du Dauphine and a member of the French team
for the Beijing Olympics, he looked like a climber in the making.
The 2011 LTdL was the re-start of his career. He went on the attack
almost every day, even on flat stages when he knew his chances of
success were very limited. He rode up to Genting Highland in a solo
breakaway until he got caught with 5km to go and finished 12th. “Had I
known the climb, I would have acted differently”, he said. “I want to go
back to Malaysia and win atop of this legendary climb.”
As he got injured in February last year, he was forced to skip
Paris-Nice, a race he thought was a necessity in his lead up to the
Spring classics and the Tour de France. As he won the Alpine stage to La
Toussuire and finished 8th overall at the 2012 Tour de France, he has
changed his mind over Paris-Nice and opted for LTdL instead.
“To have Pierre Rolland back to LTdL is a great honor, his victory as
the Best young rider of Tour de France in 2011 was a great achievement,
and I’d love to see him as winner in Malaysia as well”, the chief
operating officer of Le Tour de Langkawi Emir Abdul Jalal commented.
“It’s fantastic to hear that a stage winner at L’Alpe d’Huez also
considers Genting Highland as a legendary climb and a prestigious win to
be posted on the record book of a champion.”
The line up of Europcar for the 2013 Le Tour de Langkawi shows their
strong ambitions. The other big attraction will be Olympic Games silver
medallist for omnium Bryan Coquard who is set to become a top sprinter
in the coming years. The 2011 Asian champion Yukiya Arashiro from Japan
will also return to his favourite Asian race alongside French riders
Cyril Gautier, Perrig Quemeneur and Kevin Reza.
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 1466.6 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.
THE EUROPCAR TEAM FOR THE 2013 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Yukiya ARASHIRO (JPN), Bryan COQUARD (FRA), Cyril GAUTIER
(FRA), Perrig QUEMENEUR (FRA), Kévin REZA (FRA) and Pierre ROLLAND (FRA)