|The team at LTdL last year|
SHAH ALAM, 27th January 2016 : Now a multinational team with a strong European and Australian flavor, Dimension Data will be fully African when they’ll tackle Le Tour de Langkawi for the sixth straight time.
“It was a huge achievement for us to win this race in 2015 and we’re always delighted to come back”, said team manager Douglas Ryder who was himself one of the pioneers as he took part in the very first LTdL with the South African national team in 1996 (5th overall) and was crowned the King of the Mountains in 1998.
Reguigui won’t be part of the line-up this time around but Malaysian fans will be able to discover Songezo Jim, 25, who completed his first Grand Tour last year with the Vuelta a España and is likely to make its debut at the Tour de France next July.
“It’ll be my first time at Le Tour de Langkawi and in Malaysia”, said Jim (Jim is his family name). “I’m excited to be racing there. I’ve raced in Asia only one time before at the Tour de Korea. I know of Le Tour de Langkawi that there are always a few sprint stages. It’s always a fast race. The Genting stage is very famous but it’s been taken off this year so it’ll make the race more open and more interesting.”
“We’ll come to Le Tour de Langkawi after we won the race last year, so everybody will be watching us even though we don’t have the defending champion but we don’t know yet who’s gonna be the GC rider in our team. It can be me, it can be Jaco [Venter], it can be Reinhardt [Janse van Rensburg who is also a sprinter and has been entered as a reserve rider]. That will give us more chances to surprise our adversaries. We have a few guys who can climb well in the Cameron Highlands.”
Hailing from Cape Town in South Africa, Jim has already raced in America (Tour of Utah), in northern Europe (Arctic Race of Norway), in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi Tour) and recently for the first time in Australia where the Santos Tour Down Under opened the 2016 season.
“Travelling is part of being a professional cyclist”, he said. “It’s amazing to be able to see the world as we do. However, we don’t do it as tourists. We firstly aim at getting a result for the team. We have to enjoy it, otherwise it would be a too hard job.”
“Le Tour de Langkawi has a worldwide impact”, noted the event’s CEO Emir Abdul Jalal. “Considering the recent huge improvements of Africa on the global map of cycling, we have to invite Dimension Data but we can proudly say that our organization has been the first to welcome African cyclists with an absolute consistency in the past twenty years.
We love to see them back, especially Dimension Data with riders from different African countries. I’m sure they’ll perform again and possibly even better than before as their inclusion into the World Tour has made them stronger with participating to events like the Santos Tour Down Under.”
DIMENSION DATA FOR THE 2016 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Nic Dougall, Songezo Jim, Johan Van Zyl, Jaco Venter (Rsa), Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa), Mekseb Debesay (Eri). Reserve: Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (Rsa).