Jan 29, 2013
THE FIGHT FOR YELLOW IS MORE OPEN THAN EVER
KUALA TERENGGANU, WEDNESDAY, 30th JANUARY 2013 - The Terengganu state government were today announced as Yellow jersey sponsor of the 18th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) and it could not have come at a better time.
With five Pro Teams set to line up for the presentation of Le Tour de Langkawi on February 20 on the island paradise where the race was born in 1996, Malaysia’s world class cycling event is entering a new era after four consecutive years of South American domination.
“The fight for the yellow jersey is more open than ever”, said LTdL chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “Looking at the provisional start list, I can see the names of more than twenty potential winners coming from all five continents.”
In announcing Terengganu's sponsorship which also includes the yellow jersey for the overall leader of the race, Menteri Besar Dato' Seri Ahmad Said said this link with one of the biggest international sporting events held in the country bides well with the state's objectives to promote the Visit Terengganu Year 2013.
"The yellow jersey this time will feature the Visit Terengganu Year 2013 theme prominently and this provides immense branding for the state. This is why the state government has decided to capitalize on this opportunity to promote the state via LTdL, which is recognised as a major international cycling event," said Dato' Seri Ahmad.
"The sponsorship of the yellow jersey means the Visit Terengganu Year 2013 will be highly visible during the race, with the leader of the race attracting a lot of media attention. This will only help provide us with the required impact in meeting the objectives of Visit Terengganu Year 2013.
"Apart from the yellow jersey, the organisers have also given us the opportunity to once again host the final three stages of the race in Terengganu, which provides further promotion for the state, particularly via three hours of continuous broadcast by international and local TV stations. This will ultimately provide numerous economical and promotional benefits to the people of Terengganu.”
"The people will also get to enjoy up close a world class cycling event in their own back yard."
This year's LTdL event is also tied in an agreement with the Eurosport channel, which broadcasts the event to over 600 million television viewers worldwide and this, Dato' Seri Ahmad added, provides a significant boost in not just raising the prestige of the race, but also in providing the impact for promotional and branding activities of sponsors.
Only two previous overall winners will be on the start line: Colombians Freddy Gonzalez who is not exactly a favorite anymore at the age of 38 and Venezuelans Yonathan Monsalve who has not yet won another race since his triumph on Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur two years ago. The latter recently performed four times in the top ten of stages at the Vuelta Tachira in his country and hopes for his move to Vini Fantini, the Italian team previously known as Farnese Vini, to restart his career on a high note.
“After watching Pierre Rolland winning a mountain stage at the Tour de France in the past two years, I’d love to see him giving a great show in Malaysia as well, we know that he’ll come here with an enormous motivation”, Emir Abdul Jalal noted. While Monsalve competed in South America, the Frenchman from Europcar resumed racing last week in Africa as he rode the Tropicale Amissa-Bongo in Gabon in support of overall winner Yohann Gene who won the final stage of LTdL in 2009.
Other potential winners of LTdL completed the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia. Belgian strong man Serge Pauwels of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Australian climbing prodigy Lachlan Morton of Garmin-Sharp, Kazakhstani superstar Andrey Kashechkin of Astana came out of the first World Tour event of the year with the assurance of having the capacity to win LTdL because of the rhythm of racing that not all contenders will have in their legs at the end of February.
“Another big name on the start list is Cameron Meyer”, added Emir Abdul Jalal. “He’s a multiple world champion on the track. He has won the Santos Tour Down Under two years. He’s part of the great Orica-Greenedge team coming to Malaysia with Pieter Weening who is a stage winner at the Tour de France [in 2005] and a former pink jersey wearer at the Giro d’Italia [in 2011]. Australian champion for road race and time trial Luke Durbridge will be racing here as well. It’ll be fantastic! But in Asia, you can’t underestimate the chances of the riders who don’t belong to the World Tour. The win is open to everyone.”
Colombians Victor Nino who finished third last year will return with Taiwanese team RTS. Venezuelans Jackson Rodriguez is the man picked by Androni for moving up from fifth overall last year to the top spot this year. Denmark’s John Ebsen riding for Synergy Baku Cycling Project has the potential to emerge first atop Genting Highlands as he did at the Taiwan KOM challenge in November. South Africa’s Dennis van Niekerk from MTN is no stranger to making the top 5 at LTdL and he’s able to do it again.
Before the favourites for GC take the command after the mountain stages of Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands, the yellow jersey should be contested by the sprinters on the first two days. LTdL stage wins record holder Andrea Guardini has already put his hands up for wearing it again, as he did two years ago, but he knows that he’ll face a fierce competition from the likes of Theo Bos or Graeme Brown (Blanco), Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini), Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) or Koldo Fernandez (Garmin-Sharp).
“Let’s have a dream: a rider from Terengganu to wear the Terengganu yellow jersey”, Emir Abdul Jalal imagined. “Anuar Manan and Harrif Salleh are capable of winning a bunch sprint at Le Tour de Langkawi. It would be wonderful if it was the first one.”
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 1469.7 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 overall winners of Le Tour de Langkawi:
1996: Damian McDonald (Aus)
1997: Luca Scinto (Ita)
1998: Gabriele Missaglia (Ita)
1999: Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita)
2000: Chris Horner (USA)
2001: Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita)
2002: Hernan Dario Munoz (Col)
2003: Tom Danielson (USA)
2004: Freddy Gonzalez (Col)
2005: Ryan Cox (RSA)
2006: David George (RSA)
2007: Anthony Charteau (Fra)
2008: Ruslan Ivanov (Mol)
2009: Jose Serpa (Col)
2010: Jose Rujano (Ven)
2011: Yonathan Monsalve (Ven)
2012: Jose Serpa (Col)