*Greame Brown (above) ready to lead Theo Bos (below) to multiple victories in LTdL 2013.
KUALA LUMPUR, WEDNESDAY 16 January 2013 - Formerly known as Rabobank since 1996, the Blanco Pro Cycling Team will make its first appearance at Le Tour de Langkawi from February 21 to March 2nd. The Dutch squad has clearly set its sights on bunch sprint finishes, as they’ll travel to Asia with their superstar Theo Bos and his lead-out man Graeme Brown who made a household name in Malaysia in the early days of his career.
“I see Le Tour de Langkawi as a good opportunity to get our sprint train on track”, Bos explained. “Doing sprints, getting experience, learning from mistakes… This race will be perfect because there are a lot of sprint stages.”
By selecting Jetse Bol, Tom Leezer, Marc Goos and Jos van Emden alongside Bos and Brown, the Blanco Pro Cycling Team has sent a signal to the rest of the field that they intend to compete strongly in the eight possible bunch sprint finishes out of ten stages.
Not only are they bringing sprinters but also some of their best lead out men. It has become Brown’s role in the past three years. Previously, the Australian was a sprinter himself. For seven years, he remained the recordman of stage victories at Le Tour de Langkawi, having scored nine times from 2002 to 2005. He claimed five trophies on his last participation to LTdL. Only last year, Andrea Guardini took him out of the record books as he won six stages and a total of eleven in two participations.
However, it’s pretty unlikely that Brown will ride to reach a new record, as Bos is ‘the boss’ when it comes down to sprinting for the Dutch outfit. The five times world champion on the track collected no less than seven victories in Europe last year in highly competitive World Tour class fields: Dwars Door Drenthe, two stages at the Tour of Turkey, one at the Eneco Tour, the Dutch food valley classic, stage 2 of the World’s Ports Classic and the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen.
“We’ll be in Malaysia firstly for getting the new team together”, said a very humble Bos. “This is a new start for the former Rabobank. There are some new influences in the team, new staff members, new sports directors…, other ideas. The team focus on sprints is getting bigger and bigger. I really enjoy that. I hope it will bear fruit! Going to Le Tour de Langkawi, it’s a goal to come home with at least a win in our pockets. I really don’t know what to expect about the country. It’ll be my first visit, except from my stopovers at Kuala Lumpur airport (KLIA). I only know a few guys from the Malaysian track team like Josiah Ng.”
Bos, 29, is a former rival of Josiah as a keirin rider since the 2004 Athens Olympics where the Dutchman secured the silver medal in the individual sprint. After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he successfully switched to road racing despite the enormous differences between the two sports in terms of physiological demands.
While sprinting requires some craziness, Bos is known as a true gentleman in the pro peloton.
“It’s a great honour for us to have such a great sporting hero coming to Malaysia and we’re delighted to welcome Brown back as his lead out man”, commented the chief operating officer of Le Tour de Langkawi Emir Abdul Jalal. “There’ll be some spectacular sprints on the road!”
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 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 BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM FOR THE 2013 LTDL:
Theo BOS (NED), Graeme BROWN (AUS), Jetse BOL (NED), Tom LEEZER (NED), Marc GOOS (NED) and Jos VAN EMDEN (NED).