Europcar is latest addition to 2011 Tour de Langkawi lineup
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Europcar is latest addition to 2011 Tour de Langkawi lineup

by VeloNation Press at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
 
New-look French team aiming to build on BBox Bouygues Telecom achievements

Yohann GeneOne of the most successful squads in last year’s Tour de France is the latest to be confirmed for the 2011 edition of the Tour de Langkawi, which begins in Malaysia in eleven day’s time .

Team Europcar, which has changed its name from BBox Bouygues Telecom due to new sponsorship, won back-to-back Tour stages with Pierrick Fedrigo and Thomas Voeckler last July. Just four other stages won two stages or more, namely Saxo Bank (Cancellara, Schleck), HTC-Colombia (Cavendish), Quick Step (Chavanel) and Lampre (Petacchi).

Europcar’s achievement was notable because neither Fedrigo nor Voeckler are sprinters. Instead, the victories reflected the team’s aggressive racing style plus its determination to take opportunities to succeed.

The team last competed in the 2.HC-ranked Malaysian tour in 2009, when Yohann Gene won the final stage at Dataran Merdeka (pictured).

With a new sponsor on board, the team will be keen to start clocking up wins as early as possible, thus earning Europcar some important press attention. However that’s not the only reason why it will be motivated to ride well; the team has a long history with the race, competing in its amateur incarnation as Vendée U way back in 1996. It then became a professional setup in 2000 as the Bonjour squad, and Damien Nazon clocked up its first international win when he won a bunch gallop into Sitiawan.

General manager Jean-René Bernaudeau said that the chance to compete in Malaysia again this season was too good to pass over.

“We haven’t managed to include Le Tour de Langkawi in our race program every year due to different constraints but we believe in fate,” he stated. “So when we got the opportunity to come back this year, we took it with great pleasure.

“We have refused an offer from the organiser of Tour de France to compete in the Tours of Qatar and Oman because of giving our priority to Malaysia.”

Yukiya ArashiroThe squad for the race will comprise well-known Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro, new Canadian signing David Veilleux, plus the Frenchmen Pierre Rolland, Damien Gaudin, Guillaume Le Floc’h and Perrig Quéméneur.

The race’s importance on the Asian calendar will motivate Arashiro, while Rolland is psyched to keep improving after his fourth place on stage ten of last year’s Tour de France to Gap. The 24 year old is regarded as a promising climber and will therefore be the team’s likely GC rider when the race hits the Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands.

Race CEO Mohamed Salleh recognises that the team should be one of the strongest in the 2011 lineup, and says it’s an important addition to the Tour de Langkawi peloton. “This is a team from the Tour de France,” he stated. “It’s a very prestigious team that gives a lot of credit to our event.”

The race will begin on Langkawi island on January 23rd and comprises ten stages and 1315.4 kilometres of racing. It will finish at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on February 1st.

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Team Europcar for 2011 Tour de Langkawi:

Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn)
Damien Gaudin (Fra)
Guillaume Le Floc’h (Fra)
Perrig Quéméneur (Fra)
Pierre Rolland (Fra)
David Veilleux (Can)

Team manager : Dominique Arnould

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