Big teams for Le Tour de Langkawi

By Jean-François Quénet in Kuala Lumpur The start list for the 2009 Le Tour de Langkawi will feature...

The start list for the 2009 Le Tour de Langkawi will feature 20 teams. The February 9-15 race will start in Putrajaya, the home of the Malaysian Government, and finish in the country's capital of Kuala Lumpur with the traditional criterium at Dataran Merdeka.

Teams from five continents will be competing for honours in Asia's biggest stage race, including ProTour squads Garmin-Chipotle, AG2R, Bouygues Telecom, Fuji-Servetto and Cervélo. Perennial attendee Diquigiovanni will return, while CSF, Vorarlberg-Corratec, ISD and national teams from Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, China, Iran and Kazakhstan will provide the big guns with very strong opposition.

"The selection of the teams has been the hardest ever," said Chief Operating Officer for the event, Datuk Naim Mohamad. "We have received almost 50 bids from different teams from all over the world. It means the seven-day race format suits more teams than before. With a more compact field, we expect an even more challenging race."

"As we are aware of the importance of the Hors-Category status of our event, we have composed a balanced field with the priority being given to most competitive teams from Europe and America," Naim said. "Although we are geographically far from the heart of cycling in Europe, we believe in the anti-doping policy put together by the UCI, the professional teams and the race organisers. We support the initiative of the biological passport. Therefore we have selected nine teams that adhere to the biological passport program and are eligible for the Grand Tours."

"We are very happy to welcome newly born and extremely promising teams like Cervélo and ISD," said Naim. "Two years ago we were the first organisers to invite Slipstream to an HC event because we thought this team had a fantastic future, and we are delighted to see them coming back as Garmin-Chipotle, with the prestige of being now one of the world's most competitive teams for the Tour de France and the big classics."

The race will mark the first appearance of the Doha Team from Qatar. Each team's line-up should be known by mid-January.

Teams for Le Tour de Langkawi: The 20 participating teams: Garmin-Chipotle, Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Fuji-Servetto, Diquigiovanni, CSF, Vorarlberg-Corratec, ISD, Cervélo, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, MCF, LeTua, Meitan-GDR, Seoul Cycling, Doha Team.

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