Duarte to lead Team Colombia’s first participation in Tour de Langakwi
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Duarte to lead Team Colombia’s first participation in Tour de Langakwi

by VeloNation Press at 6:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
Former world espoir champion a likely overall GC contender due to inclusion of Genting Highlands climb

Fabio DuarteHoping to be selected for the Giro d’Italia, the Colombia team will send one of its top leaders to the Tour de Langakwi in February. The squad hopes that some of its top riders can use the race as preparation for the Italian event, and will send Fabio Duarte as its team captain.

He finished second on the Giro’s stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo in 2013, and hopes to be in the running for a stage win and high overall finish in May.

Duarte was runner-up to Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on that stage and is continuing to progress as a rider. The former world under 23 champion is now 27 years of age and knows it is time for him to start really capitalising on his talent.

He will earmark the gruelling stage to Genting Highlands as a big priority for his Langkawi campaign, knowing that performing on that climb will set him up for a high overall finish. He has the advantage of having ridden the race – and thus the climb – before, taking part in the Tour de Langkawi in 2007 as part of the Diquigiovanni team.

On that occasion he supported his team-mates and compatriots Jose Serpa and Walter Pedraza, who finished the race second and third overall behind Frenchman Anthony Charteau.

The race’s chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal believes that this knowledge of the climb could pay off for Duarte. “It’s well known that it’s an advantage for the riders to have climbed up to Genting Highlands before,” he said. “Duarte has that knowledge of our legendary climb so he’ll be one of the hot favourites of the 19th edition for sure.

“We’ve often seen Colombian climbers shining up there but for the first time, we’re delighted to welcome a fully Colombian team composed of Colombian riders only. We expect them to be very united around their team captain.”

The country is known for producing fine climbers, and in the past four of them have won the Tour de Langkawi. Hernan Dario Munoz was the first in 2002, then he was followed by Freddy Gonzalez in 2004, José Serpa in both 2009 and 2012 and Julian Arredondo in 2013.

In fact, the past five editions of the race have all gone to South American climbers, with the Venezuelans José Rujano and Jonathan Monsalve triumphing in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The uphill talents of those from the continent plus the fine weather which enables them to prepare for the early-season race both give them advantages over the others in the peloton.

The Colombia team won’t be completely built around the mountains, however. The team’s lineup will also include the sprinters Leonardo Duque, who triumphed in October’s GP Beghelli.

He and Duarte will be backed up by Julio Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Jeffy Romero and Juan Pablo Valencia.

Team manger Claudio Corti makes clear that the wildcard to the race is appreciated. “Over the last few years, Le Tour de Langkawi has experienced a big rise in participation and overall quality,” he said. “We’re very glad to have been invited and ride in Malaysia for the first time.

“It gives us the opportunity to bring our projects in a different area set to acquire a bigger role in world cycling in the future.”

The race begins in February 27th and will cover 1,506.5 kilometres over the ten days. It features stage finishes in Langkawi, Taiping, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Rembau, Pontian Kechil, Pekan, Marang plus two in Kuala Terengganu.

Five WorldTour teams have already been confirmed as taking part, namely Belkin Pro Cycling, Astana, Orica GreenEdge, Katusha and Saxo Tinkoff. The organisers have said there is a possibility that two more top-ranked teams could ride.

There are also four Pro Continental teams listed; Colombia, Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela, MTN - Qhubeka and Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team, as well as eight Continental and three national squads.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2014 (2.HC):

Stage 1, Thursday 27th February 2014: Langkawi (101.1km)
Stage 2, Friday 28th February 2014: Sungai Petani - Taiping (132.5km)
Stage 3, Saturday 1st March 2014: Kampar - Kuala Lumpur (166.5km)
Stage 4, Sunday 2nd March 2014: MAS Subang - Genting Highlands (110.9km)
Stage 5, Monday 3rd March 2014: Karak - Rembau (139.3km)
Stage 6, Tuesday 4th March 2014: Melaka - Pontian Kechil (199.1km)
Stage 7, Wednesday 5th March 2014: Kota Tinggi - Pekan (230.1km)
Stage 8, Thursday 6th March 2014: Kuantan - Marang (202.6km)
Stage 9, Friday 7th March 2014: Bandar Permaisuri - Kuala Terengganu (109.7km)
Stage 10, Saturday 8th March 2014: Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terenganu Loop (114.7km)

Total distance: 1506.5km


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