Jan 1, 2013
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS TAKE UP UNDERDOG ROLE
KUALA LUMPUR, WEDNESDAY, 2 JANUARY 2013 - Legendary cycling team manager Gianni Savio insisted that his Androni-Venezuela team will not come for tourism in Malaysia despite the loss of the past three overall winners of Le Tour de Langkawi. José Serpa, José Rujano and Jonathan Monsalve have moved to different teams, the latter being set to return to Malaysia with Vini Fantini, but the Italian squad has more in store.
“We’ll invent something new”, promised Savio who is well aware of his team not featuring any hot favourite for the overall classification this time around against the likes of Europcar’s Pierre Rolland and Cameron Meyer from Orica-GreenEdge.
“Firstly, we’ll give a chance to two young Italian neo pros: Diego Rosa, a pure climber who comes from mountain biking and won the queen stage of the Giro Bio last year, and Patrick Facchini who collected eight wins and was awarded best Italian Elite rider at the Tuttobici Oscar. Usually racing as support riders, Carlos Ochoa and Jackson Rodriguez will have more freedom this time and we’ll have a third Venezuelan with time trial national champion Tomas Gil. Our sixth man will be Omar Bertazzo for the sprints.”
“We won’t be coming with the goal of winning the overall individual title as we did these past few years with Serpa, Rujano and Monsalve”, Savio added, “but we’ll be looking at creating some surprises. Even with unknown riders, we should be able to leave our mark on the event. As always, we’ll do our best to honour the race and we’ll try to win the teams’ classification once again.”
In twelve participation to LTdL since their debuts in 2000 with a stage win by Australia’s Jamie Drew, Savio’s team has won the overall classification on six occasions with Hernan Dario Munoz (2002), Freddy Gonzalez (2004), Ruslan Ivanov (2008), José Serpa (2009), Jonathan Monsalve (2011) and José Serpa again (2012). They also won the teams’ classification five times (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012).
“Androni’s team spirit is something we always enjoy to witness”, said Le Tour de Langkawi chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal.
“We might see it even more this year as they’ll face a harder challenge, especially in Genting Highlands where fans have been used to see them winning no less than eight times in the past ten years! Gianni Savio is also one of the strongest supporters of our event and our country in the world of cycling, so he’s welcome back to Malaysia any time. It’ll be interesting to watch his riders in the underdog role this year.” He added
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.
TEAM ANDRONI-VENEZUELA FOR LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI :
Tomas Aurelio GIL MARTINEZ (VEN), Carlos José OCHOA (VEN), Jackson RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Omar BERTAZZO (ITA), Patrick FACCHINI (ITA) and Diego ROSA (ITA)