The 2014 edition of the Tour of Langkawi kicks off on February 27, with stage one on the northern Malaysian island of Langkawi. The ten-day long stage race then heads to the mainland for the 1495.9 kilometre journey around the perimeter of the country, before finishing on the Eastern coast in Kuala Terengganu on March 8.
It is ORICA-GreenEDGE’s second appearance at the Malaysian tour, and the team will again chase a general classification result with Pieter Weening. Last year, Weening finished second overall. He hopes to go one better this year.
“The parcours is fairly typical of the Tour of Langkawi,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “There are nine mostly flat stages, and one really tough mountain stage up to the Genting Highlands on day four. Given the length of the race, it’s a good opportunity for the riders to get some decent race miles in their legs on the way to Europe.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE fields a six-man team of all-rounders, built around general classification hopeful Weening and sprinter Aidis Kruopis. While Weening is firmly focused on the overall, Kruopis will target stage wins. The Lithuanian sprinter goes into the race with excellent early-season form, coming off a second place finish in Tour of Qatar.
“Our main objective in Langkawi is stage wins,” confirmed Wilson. “We are bringing our in-form sprinter Aidis to try and fulfil that objective. With nine potential sprint stages, he will have plenty of opportunities. Pieter Weening’s GC goals are always important. He will have our new climbing sensation, Esteban Chaves, there for support.”
“This race fills a nice spot on the calendar and it’s a good stepping stone between the off-season and the start of the season proper in Europe,” Wilson added. “It’s a very well organised race, so we enjoy racing here. Last year, we raced in tough conditions, with extreme temperatures and monsoonal rains. It’s a hard block of racing for the guys but they come out of it with great form.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour of Langkawi: