|Greame Brown, the perfect lead-out man|
|Theo Bos, back for more wins|
BUKIT JALIL, 6 February 2014 - After completing the 2013 season with thirteen wins including two at Le Tour de Langkawi, Theo Bos will be back in Malaysia at the helm of the Belkin team that accumulated 38 successes, making the Dutch outfit the second most prolific squad of last year after Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
As he became sick after stage 4, Bos pulled out of his first LTdL but following his six bunch sprint victories at the Tour of Hainan in China in October, he’s hungry for more success in Asia, as his lead out man Graeme Brown explained. The Australian was once the record holder of stage wins at Le Tour de Langkawi, until Andrea Guardini who now has twelve under his belt overtook him in 2012.
“I’ve won nine stages when I came to Malaysia as a sprinter [from 2002 to 2005] but now I work for Theo Bos”, the Australian said.
“I really like the race itself. These days many organizers tend to make the races too hard and from what I understand there are nine stages for sprinters out of ten at Le Tour de Langkawi this year. It’s kind of a heritage. It’s always been a lot of sprint stages and it still is. I think it’s great to see. Nine is a lot but we go with a great team for that so it’s perfect.”
“Langkawi is great! It’s very relaxed. It’s a very serious race of course but in a very relaxed atmosphere. Malaysian fans are great and really in to it. I had a lot of success there, so people know my name and remember me winning many times. It’s really nice. It’s a good race with good weather, a little bit humid but on nice roads.”
Brown is adamant that he won’t try to get his record back. “I really enjoy my job as a lead out man”, he stated. “I don’t have the speed I had when I was young. It wouldn’t make sense that I’d race as a sprinter now because Theo always beat me when I sprinted against him. To me it’s logic. I feel less pressure but I still have some pressure. If I don’t put Theo in the right spot, he can’t win the race. He always relies on what I do in the last kilometer. It’s great when he wins of course.”
“You have to remember that only a few years ago he was a track sprinter. It takes some time. He was racing 200 metres and now he’s racing 200 kilometres. He beat the world’s best sprinters [Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish] two weeks before the Tour de France last year. Definitely in the Asian races he’s really good. He has the Tour of Qatar to get ready for Le Tour de Langkawi. I really pushed Theo to do this race. He wanted to do Paris-Nice, I said look let’s do Langkawi, let’s try to win some races, it’s a great race with good weather. Hopefully he doesn’t get sick this year.” Brown added.
“It’s very exciting to see Brown and Bos coming back to Malaysia”, chief operating officer of Le Tour de Langkawi Emir Abdul Jalal commented. “Belkin also entered Steven Kruijswijk for riding GC and Jack Bobridge as part of the lead out train with Rick Flens and Dennis van Winden who are the experts in paving the way for Brown and Bos. Bobridge is another cycling super star.”
“In Malaysia we are also very keen on watching track cycling, so to have the world record holder for the individual pursuit (4km) is a great honor for us.” Emir added.
BELKIN PRO CUCLING TEAM FOR THE 2014 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Theo BOS (NED), Greame BROWN (AUS), Rik FLENS (NED), Jack BOBRIDGE (AUS), Steven KRUIJSWIJK (NED) and Dennis VAN WINDEN (NED).
Organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, via the National Sports Council (NSC) in association with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). The 19th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from February 27 to March 8, 2014 is set to cover a total distance of 1,507.9km over 10 stages, the UCI 2.HC (hors category) race featuring again as one of the biggest events on the UCI Asia Tour calendar.