While the 2013 overall winner Julian Arredondo from Colombia has moved on to Trek Factory Racing and confirmed his talent by winning stage 2 of the Tour de San Luis that opened the 2014 season on the America Tour, runner up Peter Weening will make his return to Le Tour de Langkawi will the clear intention of stepping up to the top position when the race will come to a conclusion in Kuala Terengganu on March 8 after a ten day journey from the Paradisiacal island of Langkawi.
The last Dutchman to have won a stage at the Tour de France (in 2005) and is also a former pink jersey wearer at the Giro d’Italia (in 2011) and last year’s overall winner of World Tour race Tour of Poland has fallen in love with Malaysia and asked the management of his Australian team Orica-GreenEdge to include him again in their line-up for LTdL. “After finishing second last year, Peter wants to go one step higher”, explained team manager Shayne Bannan who has been a long-time supporter of the Asian H.C. race since he directed the Australian Institute of Sport on these roads in 1998.
Orica-GreenEdge also features Colombian super climber Esteban Chavez who won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011 following the path of his compatriot Nairo Quintana. But his capacities to perform remain unknown as he sustained a terrible crash at the Laigueglia Trophy in Italy in February last year and hasn’t raced again since.
“Weening is definitely our GC contender”, Bannan continued. “He really enjoyed Le Tour de Langkawi last year. His pre-season is going a lot better than what it was last year. Chavez will support him up to Genting Highlands and he’ll use this race to build his confidence for the future.”
Orica-GreenEdge will also take a sprinter on board as they see “a lot of opportunities for [Lithuania’s] Aidis Kruopis” who will have the crème de la crème as a lead out man with Brett Lancaster who won stage 3 from Tapah to Raub ten years ago and escorted Graeme Brown on his numerous Malaysian successes.
The Australian outfit will also have two time triallists to close the gaps and prepare for bunch sprints with U23 world champion Damian Howson and Sam Bewley. “In Malaysia, we always enjoy the good weather and the excellent level of organization”, Bannan mentioned. “It’s a fantastic event to prepare for the rest of the season.”
“This is a super team”, noted LTdL chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “We couldn’t hope for a better support from Australia’s only World Tour team. In their second participation, we can be sure that they have all it takes to handle the pressure of being hot favorites for the race.”
ORICA-GREENEDGE FOR THE 2014 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
BEWLEY Sam (NZL), CHAVES RUBIO Jhoan Esteban (COL), KRUOPIS Aidis (LTU), LANCASTER Brett (AUS), WEENING Pieter (NED), HOWSON Damien (AUS)
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.