Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, a Tour de France stage winner, will contest next month’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the race’s organiser has announced. Kirsipuu retired from professional cycling in 2006 but after spending last year managing Latvian team Rietumu Banka – Riga the rider returned to the saddle this year.
Kirsipuu will join small Malaysian squad LeTua for the Australian race, where he will be teamed with former junior world champion Jeremy Yates of New Zealand. Kirsipuu has contested many races throughout 2009, taking stage wins at Tour du Cameroun, Tour du Maroc and FBD Insurance Ras. During his two years away from professional riding, Kirsipuu claimed the Estonian Time Trial Championship in 2007 then the road race title in 2008.
Malaysia’s national cycling program has strong ties with Australia, with its program based in Melbourne under the guidance of John Beasley. Beasley hopes that their recent international success, which included two Track World Championship medals, would result in road successes over coming years.
“Our guys have come a long way in the past four years on the track, but they’ve still got a fair way to go on the road. We’re in a development phase and they’ll all learn a lot from Jaan – what it takes to be a pro, the way he rides and more importantly, how he prepares for each day,” Beasley said. “If they can all broaden their base, we’ll be happy.
“It has taken the track team about four years to be competitive on the big stage so we’re hoping to be on the same schedule on the road,” he added. “I’m sure Jaan will help us out with that.”
The 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour will run from October 11 to 17.
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