Tuesday January 8, 2013
Race for overall LTdL title set to be open affair
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
PUTRAJAYA: The absence of a number of South American climbers could result in a new winner in this year’s Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) Queen stage (or mountain stage) from Shah Alam to Genting Highlands.
Gianni Savio, the most successful team manager in the history of LTdL with six overall wins, will be without pure climbers in his Androni Venezuela team, throwing the title race wide open.
The LTdL will be held from Feb 21-March 2.
Europcar’s Pierre Rolland, Lachlan Morton (Garmin Sharp) and former LTdL winner Yonnatha Monsalve (Vini Fantini) could be the protagonists in the race to the top of Genting Highlands this year.
Conquering Genting, which was omitted only once in LTdL in 2008, is often crucial to winning the overall title. Of the 17 times that the climb was featured in the race since its inception in 1996, only seven stage winners failed to go on and secure the overall title.
“The 25km climb to Genting has attained mythical status among cyclists because many who have conquered it speak highly about it,” said LTdL chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal on the sidelines of a sponsorship presentation worth RM800,000 from Genting Malaysia Berhad yesterday.
Meanwhile, Emir has confirmed that OmegaPharma-QuickStep are the fifth Pro Tour team, joining Astana, Garmin, Orica-GreenEdge and Blanco-Giant (formerly Rabobank) for the LTdL.
“Details of their roster will be announced soon,” said Emir of the team who currently have former world champion Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen and world time trial champion Tony Martin in their ranks.