Rujano returns to Langkawi hunting top Giro form
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Monday, February 08, 2010

Rujano returns to Langkawi hunting top Giro form

by Conal Andrews at 8:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Five years after he finished second overall in the Tour de Langkawi, then went on to take a stage, the King of the Mountains award and third in the general classification of the Giro d’Italia, Jose Rujano is hearing back to the Malaysian race.

The 27 year old Venezuelan is hoping that by following a similar programme, he can once again reach the same heights as he did in 2005.

Rujano will spearhead the ISD-Neri squad in the race and if on form, his superb climbing marks him out as a potential victor. Five years ago he finished second on the Genting Highland stage, crossing the line inches behind eventual race winner Ryan Cox (Barloworld), and will aim to win this time round.

Rujano will join 2009 Tour de Langkawi participants Bartosz Huzarsky, Denys Kostyuk and Vitaliy Kondrut, as well as Ruslan Pidgorny and Pierpaolo Denegri, on the Italian squad.

His Giro performance had marked him out as a future winner of cycling’s Grand Tours, but despite contracts with Quick Step-Innergetic, Unibet.com and Caisse d'Epargne, he failed to deliver on his potential. Rujano raced with the smaller Gobernacion del Zulia team last year and knows that he must knuckle down fully again if he is to succeed internationally.

There are however signs that he is getting back on track, given that he won the 2009 Vuelta a Colombia and Vuelta a Venezuela.

Earlier this year he made waves when he talked up his abilities to the Venezuelan newspaper Entorno Inteligente. “Right now I think I am the third climber in the world after Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez,” he bragged. “Armstrong and Andy Schleck? They are strong on the uphills, but they are not natural climbers.

“I can not go to the Tour of Italy just to take part. I'm going to win it. I’m mature enough to do it and I thank the ISD team that has given me the opportunity to repeat the preparation that I had followed in 2005, when I came third in the Giro.”

Since then, he took the time trial and the overall classification in the Vuelta al Táchira, giving his supporters hope that this year will be different. Success in the Tour de Langkawi would prove that he is back on track.

The 15th edition of the Malaysian race will begin on March 1st in Kota Bharu. It will end seven stages later in Dataran Merdeka, having covered a total distance of 1019.3km.

Thus far, the ProTour Footon Servetto team plus Rujano’s Professional Continental line-up are the biggest squads to have been confirmed.

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