|IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness riders on their training ride.|
|Joe Cooper celebrates at the New Zealand National Championships. (photo by Duncan Brown)|
SHAH ALAM, 13 January 2017 : Newly crowned New Zealand champion Joe Cooper is set to headline the IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness team at Le Tour de Langkawi from February 22 to March 1st along with Cameron Bayly who came fourth behind three WorldTour riders (Miles Scotson of BMC, Simon Gerrans of Orica-Scott and Nathan Haas of Dimension Data) at the Australian championship held last Sunday in Ballarat, Victoria. On both races, the Australian outfit formerly known as Praties and Avanti showed its high standard.
“We don’t normally invite continental teams from outside Asia as we prioritize Asian teams in that category”, Le Tour de Langkawi CEO Emir Abdul Jalal explained. “But we have decided to make an exception for IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness because they are very competitive. The weekend’s results are just a confirmation of what we already knew of them. Richie Porte, one of the world’s best cyclists these days [5th in the 2016 Tour de France with BMC], was part of that team when as a young rider he finished tenth overall in the 2009 Le Tour de Langkawi with the Australian national team.”
Haas, Will Clarke, Patrick Bevin, Jack Haig, Nathan Earle, Steele von Hoff, Campbell Flakemore and more recently Chris Hamilton (Sunweb-Giant) and Ben O’Connor who will ride the 2017 LTdL with Dimension Data have all moved on to employment in the WorldTour ranks after being nurtured by coach Andrew Christie-Johnson who has embarked for his 17th season at the helm of the Tasmania-based squad. “I’ve always wanted to send my team to Le Tour de Langkawi, it’s an honor to be part of this race this year and we’ll line up with our most competitive riders for this particular event”, said the IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness team manager.
“I’m immensely excited about riding Le Tour de Langkawi for the first time”, added recruit Jesse Kerrison, 22, who also appeared in the best form of his life at the Australian national championship. He’s already established as a sprinter on the Asia Tour, having bagged a few stages since his first success at the age of 19 at the UCI 2.1 Tour of Taihu Lake in China. He’ll be the team’s sprinter along with experienced fast man Anthony Giacoppo.
“From Jay Sweet in the very first Le Tour de Langkawi in 1996 to Caleb Ewan in 2015, we have a long history of successful Australian sprinters and we’d be happy to see it continue”, Emir noted. In the history books of LTdL, thanks to sprinting stars Graeme Brown and Stuart O’Grady, Australia is ranked second in number of stage wins with 26 up to date while Italy leads the charge with 75. Duels between Italians and Australians are highly expected in bunch gallops in the 22nd edition of Asia’s premier Hors Category stage race.
THE ISOWHEY SPORTS SWISSWELLNESS TEAM FOR THE 2017 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Cameron Bayly, Chris Harper, Jesse Kerrison, Anthony Giacoppo, Sean Lake (AUS), Joseph Cooper (NZL)