Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will once again return to the Le Tour de Langkawi this year, an event that has always been part of the team’s calendar in years past. This year will see the team send an exciting line up of young climbers to the UCI 2.HC categorized race.
Kevin Campbell will be directing the team at the prestigious Malaysian race and gave us some insight into the team’s plans for the 10 day stage race.
“We have a strong, young climbing team and we are going to be aiming to win the tour. Unfortunately with no Cameron highlands this year the GC looks like it will be decided on the Genting stage, so that stage will definitely be a focal point for us. The other 9 stages will probably be dominated by sprinters. In Youcef Reguigui we have a fast finisher and we will be working for him on those stages.” Campbell said.
Along with sprinter Reguigui, the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung climbers included in the line-up are Louis Meintjes, Tsgabu Grmay, Merhawi Kudus, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg and John-Lee Augustyn. With a number of options for the GC, Campbell highlighted some of the riders we could expect to do well.
“We have SA Champion Louis Meintjies and he has shown that he is in good shape. Tsgabu was 9th last year and I know he is motivated and wants to finish on the podium at least. Merhawi Kudus is an exciting talent and we are hoping to see him perform with the top riders especially on the climb to Genting. Janse Van Rensburg has also finished as high up as 6th place on GC in a previous edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi,” said Campbell.
With 9 out of the 10 stages suiting the sprinters you would expect most teams to be sprint focused. This is not necessarily the case as Campbell explains.
“Yes, even though this tour is usually dominated by the sprinter’s teams, all of the teams usually have at least 1 rider that can perform well on the tough climbs. Europcar with Natnael Berhane will be one of the favourites for sure,” concluded Campbell.
The Le Tour de Langkawi gets underway with a 101km road stage from Porto Malai to Pantai Chenang on Thursday. The queen stage up to the Genting Highlands will be on Sunday this week.
Le Tour de Langkawi (Malaysia) – (February 27 – March 8/UCI 2.HC)
Louis Meintjes (RSA)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Merhawi Kudus (ERI)
Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
John-Lee Augustyn (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)
Staff: Kevin Campbell (Sports Director), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Yvonne Houwelling (Soigneur) and Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic)