Expect another strong showing in Le Tour de Langkawi, which begins this Friday, from the best performing national team in the race's 12 year history, as South Africa will return with an eye on both the overall individual and team titles. The ace in the six pack of riders is defending champion David George, but team captain Nic White could also prove to be one who gives South Africa the chance to register an unprecedented piece of history in Le Tour de Langkawi, where they could become the only country to have won the Tour for three consecutive years.
Ryan Cox started the ball rolling when he won the 2005 title, but the Barloworld rider is not part of team manager Tony Harding's line-up this time around. Instead, South Africa will bank on George, who last year topped both the general classification as well as the mountains classification last year, backed by White and Daryl Impey of the MTN Microsoft team, Rupert Rheeder and Hanco Kachelhoffer of the Harmony team and Konica Minolta's Tiaan Kannemeyer.
"Le Tour de Langkawi has always been a favourite for South African riders and we've had winners of the past two races. We've also been part of the race in each of the past 11 editions, so it is an important race for us. This year, the competition level is higher with the presence of five ProTour teams," commented White.
"As an early season event, Le Tour de Langkawi offers riders the opportunity to race in great warm weather, and get a head start on their form for the European season. As South Africans, coming from the southern hemisphere, there is the added advantage of being able to prepare well in a warm environment.
"Our team has been assembled with the defending champion, and a range of good tour riders and climbers, combined with strongmen for the flat days, all with a wealth of international experience."
Another South African, Ian McLeod will also be racing in Langkawi again, this time as part of the Française Des Jeux team who will be making their debut in Malaysia.