Berhane and Martinez to lead Europcar’s hopes in the Tour de Langkawi
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Berhane and Martinez to lead Europcar’s hopes in the Tour de Langkawi

by VeloNation Press at 8:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
 
Europcar team names lineup for Malaysian event

Natnael BerhaneTeam Europcar has become the sixth WorldTour team confirmed for this year’s Tour de Langkawi, with the organisers announcing that the French squad will be amongst the peloton lining out on February 27th.

The team clocked up two stage wins last year thanks to the young French sprinter Bryan Coquard; this time, the climber Natnael Berhane will be its big hope, and has the uphill ability to mount an assault on the general classification.

“Natnael came to fame when he won a mountainous stage at the Tour of Turkey last year,” stated the directeur sportif Andy Flickinger. “Le Tour de Langkawi suits him very well to step up in his cycling career. Clearly, his goal will be to ride GC.”

The race is almost always shaped by the gruelling climb of Genting Highlands. In a race which otherwise features flat to rolling stages, the sheer pitches of its slopes create huge time gaps, ensuring that climbers have won each edition of the race.

Berhane’s showing in last year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey highlighted his ability against gravity, and he will be psyched to make an impression in Malaysia.

The team will however not base its campaign totally around him. Flickinger said that it also wanted to excel on flat stages. “We don’t neglect the other important part of Le Tour de Langkawi, which is sprinting,” he said. “We’ll bring our recruit Yannick Martinez who is a young sprinter who can also climb decently. Therefore, the course of LTdL is perfect for him.

“He hasn’t raced for ten days in a row yet, so this will be good for him to try and win stages as well as improving for the future.”

A previous incarnation of the team raced in the Tour de Langkawi in 1996, being the amateur Vendée U squad at the time. It evolved into the pro Bonjour outfit and took a stage with Damien Nazon in 2000.

Since then, under the Bouygues Telecom name, it took stages with Matthieu Sprick and Yohan Gène in 2008 and 2009.

“It’s a great pleasure for us to welcome Europcar back in Malaysia,” stated LTdL chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalad. “They’re a Pro Team this year, which is a well deserved reward for the great job they’ve done in recent years with Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland who have both raced in Malaysia on several occasions.”

“But moreover, this team has been in our heart as Malaysian cycling fans because we don’t forget their participation in the first ever Le Tour de Langkawi back in 1996. They’ve been faithful to our race organization as much as they could since then.”

Berhane and Martinez will be joined by Frenchmen Romain Guillemois, Christophe Kern, Morgan Lamoisson and Yannick Martinez plus the Canadian Antoine Duchesne.

The race organisers previously confirmed the participation of five other WorldTour teams, namely Garmin-Sharp, Astana, Orica GreenEdge, Blanco and Omega Pharma Quick Step.


Europcar for Tour de Langkawi:


Natnael Berhane (Eri), Antoine Duchesne (Can), Romain Guillemois (Fra), Christophe Kern (Fra), Morgan Lamoisson (Fra), Yannick Martinez (Fra).


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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