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Australia's Drapac-Porsche will contest Malaysia's Tour de Langkawi for the second time next week, and the Melbourne-based squad is setting its sights high for the 2.HC race. The team will send some of its top climbers to the event, including former Australian Open Road Champion Peter McDonald.
The Continental squad will be up against former Giro d'Italia stage winner and renowned climber José Rujano (ISD-Neri) and Tour Down Under stage winner Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto) at the event. Despite the presence of such riders, Drapac-Porsche team manager Sarah Richardson believes the team can wear the race's leader jersey once more.
"I think we'll be looking at stage wins with the hope of possibly getting the yellow jersey," said Richardson. "If you look at the riders we're sending, they're predominately our hill climbers so we should be up there and in contention.
"Lachlan Norris has been going really well in a lot of the mountain bike races recently, he is currently leading the national series and finished second at the Otway Odyssey," she added. "We've got quite a few riders in good form to tackle the mountain climbs at the Tour of Langkawi."
The squad will also feature a Malaysian rider in its roster in the form of Adiq Othman. Richardson expects Othman's presence in the team's roster will make it a favourite amongst locals.
"He's been over there for three weeks already training for the event," said Richardson. "Having a Malaysian rider in the team is quiet beneficial. Having a local rider in the team helps boost our profile at the event."
Langkawi won't be the only Asian race Drapac-Porsche contests in March. It will send a second squad of younger riders - Tom Palmer, Joe Lewis, Michael Phelan and Angus Morton - to the OCBC Cycle Singapore Criterium, which was won last year by David Pell.
Drapac-Porsche Tour de Langkawi roster: Adiq Othman, Peter McDonald, Stuart Shaw, Lachie Norris, David Pell and Rhys Pollock.