Omega Pharma Quick Step confirmed for Tour de Langkawi, Fenn chasing stage wins
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Omega Pharma Quick Step confirmed for Tour de Langkawi, Fenn chasing stage wins

by Shane Stokes at 6:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
Belgian team also has GC in mind

Omega Pharma Quick StepThe increase in standard of entries for this year’s Tour de Langkawi has continued with confirmation that a fifth WorldTour team, Omega Pharma Quick Step, will travel to Malaysia this year to compete in the 2.HC event.

The Belgian squad is targeting both the general classification and sprint victories, with British sprinter Andy Fenn one of those who will target the latter.

“I’m attracted by the flat stages of Le Tour de Langkawi. I’ll try and win at least one stage,” he said. “I’m in good shape again. I’m usually doing well at the beginning and the end of the seasons.”

In 2011 he picked up the bronze medal in September’s under 23 world road race championships. Last February, he shone early on when he won both the Trofeo Palma and the Trofeo Migjorn, two races in the Challenge Mallorca series.

Fenn is still just 22 years of age and should continue to progress this season. Nabbing one or more stage victories in the Tour de Langkawi would be a big achievement and set him up well for a strong 2013.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step team is looking to more than that, though, as road captain Serge Pauwels point out. “We have big hopes to perform on GC as well,” he said, referring to riders such as the Italian Gianluca Brambilla, who was thirteenth overall in last year’s Giro d’Italia, and the talented young Spaniard Carlos Verona. “If we take the lead in the Cameron Highlands, we’ll have a good team to defend the yellow jersey,” he pledged.

Team manager Patrick Lefévère has history in the race, with his former Mapei rider Gabriele Missaglia winning overall in 1998 and Paolo Lanfranchi triumphing in 1999 and 2001.

Pauwels was twentieth overall in the recent Santos Tour Down Under and is looking forward to the Langkawi event.

“Two and half weeks mean a long time away from home but we want to perform well in Malaysia,” he said. “Avoiding long trips and jet lags is the best way to produce a result.

“Our management realized that there was a lack of racing days for some riders at this time of the season last year,” he continued. “Those ten days competing in Malaysia will be perfect for us, even though most of us know nothing of the country except from our stopovers in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on our way to Australia. When I raced for Cervélo in 2009, I heard many positive comments from my team-mates about Le Tour de Langkawi. I’m looking forward to discover the event.”

The race has plans to continue growing, with eventual WorldTour status being a possible a target for the future. This year there will be five WorldTour teams taking part – Omega Pharma Quick Step, Astana, Garmin-Sharp, Blanco Pro Cycling and Orica GreenEdge – plus several strong Pro Continental teams.

The race’s COO Emir Abdul Jalal is enthusiastic about what the Belgian squad represents. “When you look at the achievements of Omega Pharma-Quick Step through the whole season, it’s a huge honour for our country to have them racing in Malaysia. They’re the equivalent of Ferrari in the Formula 1,” he said.

This year’s Tour de Langkawi officially begins in Kangar on February 21, although there will be a circuit race on Langkawi island one day beforehand.

Omega Pharma Quick Step team for 2013 Le Tour de Langkawi:

Gianluca Brambilla (Italy)
Andrew Fenn (Great Britain)
Michal Golas (Poland)
Serge Pauwels (Belgium)
Pieter Serry (Belgium)
Carlos Verona (Spain)


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