McLeod to lead South African national team at the Tour de Langkawi
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Monday, February 15, 2010

McLeod to lead South African national team at the Tour de Langkawi

by Conal Andrews at 5:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

It has been announced that five-time Tour de Langkawi competitor Ian McLeod will lead the South African national team’s challenge in the prestigious 2.HC race next month.

The 29 year old first competed in the race back in 2001, then returned six years later with his-then team, Française des Jeux. He was 16th overall on that occasion, then went on to finish ninth with the South Africa team in 2008.

His best career results to date are victory in the GP des Lys les Lannoy in 2004, a win on a stage of Tour de la Manche 2004, champion of Pick n Pay (2003), Liberty Ride for Sight (2002), and second overall in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo this year with his MTN pro team.

The climbing specialist will be joined by Jaco Venter, Christoff Van Heerden, Christopher Jennings, Johann Rabie and Jay Thomson.

23 year old Venter first rode the race in 2008 and returned again last year. Rabie, who is the same age, made his debut last year when he was 27th.

The team’s sprint hopes will rest upon the shoulders of under 23 riders Jennings and Van Heerden. Jennings is the South African junior champion but showed he could race well against pro riders when he won the South African Berge en Dale Super Classic at the start of this month.

Last June he became the first South African junior male to win a top flight International Cycling Union race, taking the final stage of the Tour de Pays de Vaud in Switzerland. He also wore the King of the Mountains jersey in the Vuelta al Besaya in Spain.

Van Heerden will assist him in the sprints. Two years ago he won the under 25 Tour of Pennsylvania with Konica Minolta. The MTN rider also won two stages in the Tour of Hong Kong and wore the yellow jersey, and is another promising talent.

24 year old Thomson completes the team, and is expected to ride strongly. He won the Tour of Egypt in 2008 and is both the current under 23 national TT champion and the African continental TT holder.

South Africa’s best performance in the Tour de Langkawi occurred in 2006 when David George won overall. The national squad was also second in the team classification in 2000 and 2002.

Today’s announcement builds on the list of confirmed teams. Pro Tour squad Footon-Servetto (Spain) and the Pro Continental ISD Neri team of Jose Rujano will lead the charge, fighting it out the South African, Malaysian and Kazakhstan national selections plus ten continental teams. The latter are Drapac Porsche (Australia), Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team (Iran), Seoul Cycling Team (South Korea), Marco Polo Cycling Team (China), Aisan Racing Team (Japan), Max Success Sport Cycling Team (China), Le Tua (Malaysia) Team Geumsan Ginseng Asia (South Korea), Azad University Cycling Team (Iran) and Giant Asia Racing Team (Taiwan).

There will be a total of 120 riders from 20 teams.

The 15th edition of the UCI (Hors Category) stage race will take place from Kota Bharu - Kuala Berang (174.5km); Kuala Terengganu - Chukai (182.3km); Pekan - Mersing (145.6km); Mersin-Parit Sulong (163.5km); Muar - Port Dickson (116.9km) Putrajaya - Genting Highlands (102.8km) and Kuala Kubu Baru - Dataran Merdeka (133.7km), covering a total distance of 1019.3km.
 

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