By Anthony Tan in Kuala Lumpur
Well not quite, according to the mild-mannered 23 year-old American with Credit Agricole, even though that's what stitched around the heel of his custom-made Rocket7 shoes.
2006 marks Saul Raisin's second trip to the tropics to contest the Le Tour de Langkawi, the second-year professional appearing to cope quite well in the heat after coming back from a training ride midday Thursday. "Oh, it's like home in Georgia!" he smiled.
"Summer in Georgia, the hottest days we have are like this, so it's just like home," said Raisin, whose attention suddenly turned to the imposing Shah Alam mosque directly across the road, where prayers could be heard inside the hotel. "Well, sort of... "
Asked what condition he's come to the race in, the mountains winner from the 2005 Tour de l'Avenir said he's not quite sure, even though he feels better prepared than before. "Compared to last year, I'm stronger. I'm older, I've got a year of racing in Europe - so I think I'm coming here better than I was last year, but how much better, that's a good question. I haven't tested myself on any climbs, so we'll have to find out."
Straight after the conclusion of the race, Raisin and his Credit Agricole team of three years (he was an espoir in his first year) fly out to race the inaugural Tour of California. However, he's not expecting anything huge there, either, as the season's first Grand Tour is top of mind.
"This year my objective is the Giro, so I'm going to try and reserve everything till the Giro. I want to do well in all my races, but I just have to use the form I have and see how far I can take it," he said.
Photography from the teams presentation
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
- Yawadoo Colba-ABM The team from Yawadoo Colba-ABM were the first cab of the rank at the 2006 Tour de Langkawi teams presentation, held at Kuala Lumpur's Concorde Shah Alam hotel..
- Wismilak Indonesian team Wismilak have Tonton Susanto once again as their star rider.
- Red shoes Only my best pair of shoes for the Tour de Langkawi....
- Navigators The team from Navigators Insurance at the teams presentation.
- Casino Filipino Casino Filipino at the teams presentation.
- The team from LPR with Australian Gene Bates (L) in contention for a some good results on the tour.
- LPR's Gene Bates was well placed in the recent Tour Down Under in South Australia and will be looking for another good result in Malaysia.
- The French team of AG2R Prevoyance, one of the main contenders to get a rider into GC contention on the tour.
- The lads from the Great Britian team.
- Ceramica Panaria-Navigare The colourful outfit of Ceramica Panaria-Navigare with Argentinian Ruben Bongiorno a chance to figure in stage wins on the tour.
- Camel shoes Anyone for ten-pin bowling?
- Giant Asia The team from Giant Asia at the teams presentation for the 2006 TM Tour de Langkawi.
- The team from Equipe Asia at the presentation.
- Japan The national team from Japan.
- Wiesenhof Akud The team of Wiesenhof Akud from Germany with Australian Corey Sweet second from the left.
- The French team of Bouygues Telecom with the experienced Andy Flickinger far right.
- Landbouwkrediet-Colnago on the presentation podium in Kuala Lumpur.
- Recycling.co.uk One of two British teams on the tour, Recycling.co.Uk.
- Kristian House (R) and Evan Oliphant of the Recycling.co.uk team.
- The Spanish team of Relax-Gam wont be relaxing once the tour gets going.
- The Credit Agricole outfit with Christophe Le Mevel (3rd L), a contender on the tour.
- Selle Italia Diquigiovanni will once again be a force at the 2006 TM Tour de Langkawi.
- The South African team are presented.
- Last year's winner and fancied again this year, Ryan Cox of South Africa.
- The spotlight will again be on Ryan Cox (R), and his South African team-mates are right behind him.
- Malaysia hosting the eleventh running of the TM Tour de Langkawi.
- The tiger-striped Malaysian team make a pact at the teams presentation.