Danielson motivated by chance to perform at Tour de Langkawi
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Danielson motivated by chance to perform at Tour de Langkawi

by Shane Stokes at 9:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
 
American to begin season next Friday

Tom DanielsonNine years after he won the race as part of the Saturn squad, US pro Tom Danielson will line out in the Tour de Langkawi next Friday motivated to ride well.

“As I’m talking now, I feel very good and I think I’ve had a good off season,” the Garmin Barracuda rider said, speaking to VeloNation in the lead-up to the race. “Personally, I’m in good shape, but I don’t know what kind of shape everyone else is in. I don’t think I’ll be creeping there, but it’s the first race and there are so many unknown factors.

“But, yeah, I’d like to perform well and contend for the race. That’s for sure. It’s a beautiful race. Let’s just put it this way…I’m not going to fly all the way to Malaysia to sit around in the peloton. If I can place well, then I will, for sure.”

Although the majority of stages are expected to conclude with bunch sprints, the two likely deciders should suit Danielson’s characteristics. The first of those is the opening stage, a 20.3 kilometre time trial in Putrajaya. The second comes five days later when the race tackles the summit finish of Genting Highlands, where Danielson finished second nine years ago and took the race leader’s jersey that he would hold until the end of the event.

As a rider who is both strong against the clock and on the climbs, that course plus a very strong Garmin-Barracuda team means that he could be one of the big contenders. Still, given that it’s the first race of the year and he doesn’t know how the other riders are going, he’s not presuming anything as regards the final result.

“I’m really excited that our team is able to do it and I think it will be a lot of fun for sure. It looks like we have a good field too, which is different to the years past,” he said. “I think they only had one or two guys that are really good climbers, but right now it’s pretty solid.

“There’s Vinokourov, Rujano, and that guy who won last year [Yonnatha Monsalve]…I’m sure he is flying. Any of those guys on that Italian team full of Venezuelans and Colombians [Androni], Serpa and all those guys just haul ass. Rujano is one of the best guys in the world when he is on.”

If Rujano is indeed on, he’ll make his move on the race’s big summit finish. It’s a climb that Danielson knows too, and he’s got fond memories of it.

“You can’t really find a climb better than Genting Highlands, can you?” he asked, with a laugh. “Too bad they don’t have that in the Tour de France..!”

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