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Guardini back for more at Tour de Langkawi - Gallery

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Matt Goss and Andrea Guardini

Matt Goss and Andrea Guardini (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The other Sagan, Juraj with Tinkoff

The other Sagan, Juraj with Tinkoff (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Luca Chirico (Bardiani CSF)

Luca Chirico (Bardiani CSF) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Astana are led out onto the stage

Astana are led out onto the stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Guardini with his Astana teammate Maxi Lopez

Andrea Guardini with his Astana teammate Maxi Lopez (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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South African national champion Jaco Venter (Dimension Data)

South African national champion Jaco Venter (Dimension Data) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The favourites for the Tour de Langkawi

The favourites for the Tour de Langkawi (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation paid tribute to commentator David Duffield

The Tour de Langkawi presentation paid tribute to commentator David Duffield (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Malaysia at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Malaysia at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Malaysia at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Malaysia at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Giant-Champion System at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Giant-Champion System at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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NSC-Mycron at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

NSC-Mycron at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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7-Eleven Sava RBP at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

7-Eleven Sava RBP at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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HKSI at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

HKSI at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Terengganu Cycling Team at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Terengganu Cycling Team at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The favourites for the Tour de Langkawi

The favourites for the Tour de Langkawi (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi press conference

The Tour de Langkawi press conference (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Tomohiro Hayakawa (Aisan Racing Team)

Tomohiro Hayakawa (Aisan Racing Team) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Anuar Manan (Terengganu)

Anuar Manan (Terengganu) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Janez Brajkovic (UnitedHealthcare)

Janez Brajkovic (UnitedHealthcare) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Jaco Venter (Dimension Data)

Jaco Venter (Dimension Data) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Matt Goss (One Pro Cycling)

Matt Goss (One Pro Cycling) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Andrea Guardini (Astana)

Andrea Guardini (Astana) (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Pegasus at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Pegasus at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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KSPO at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

KSPO at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Aisan at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Aisan at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Androni Giocattoli at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Androni Giocattoli at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Tinkoff-Saxo at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Tinkoff-Saxo at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Astana at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Astana at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Dimension Data at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Dimension Data at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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UnitedHealthcare at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

UnitedHealthcare at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Southeast-Venezuela at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Southeast-Venezuela at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Hengxiang at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Hengxiang at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Skydive Dubai at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Skydive Dubai at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Team Roth at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Team Roth at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Tinkoff team at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Tinkoff team at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Funvic Soul Cycles-Carrefour at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Funvic Soul Cycles-Carrefour at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Drapac at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Drapac at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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Bardiani CSF at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

Bardiani CSF at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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ONE Pro Cycling at the Tour de Langkawi presentation

ONE Pro Cycling at the Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)
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The Tour de Langkawi presentation

The Tour de Langkawi presentation (Image credit: Le Tour de Langkawi)

Astana's Andrea Guardini is the most prolific stage winner of Tour de Langkawi history, and aims to add to his tally of 18 victories in this week's 21st edition of the Malaysian race. Back for his sixth year in a row, fresh off the Dubai Tour and Tours of Qatar and Oman, the Italian is hoping to find his first win of the season.

“I’m happy to be back to Malaysia. There are a lot of good stages for me and the weather is really nice," Guardini said at the opening press conference. "I expect a lot of work to do for Astana but we won’t be able to do all the work, so I hope for other teams to contribute to chasing breakaways down.

"I haven’t set any particular goal for myself in terms of victories. It’s true that I hold the record here with 18 stage wins but no win is easy to get. Year after year, I can see this race growing. I’m not the only sprinter here. There are a lot of young fast sprinters, several Italian sprinters and I can see that Anuar [Manan] is skinnier than last year."

Indeed, Manan had a solid season so far, with a pair of wins in the Jelajah Malaysia in December. He is the only Malaysian to win a stage in Langkawi, which often attracts a handful of WorldTour teams in addition to a strong line-up of Pro Continental squads.

Defending overall champion Yousef Reguigui is competing at the African Continental Championships and will miss the race, but his Dimension Data squad comes with new South African champion Jaco Venter, who noted that the team had no designated leader.

"We’re under pressure to win Le Tour de Langkawi again but there’s no clear favourite for GC so we’ll firstly focus on stage wins with Reinhardt [Janse van Rensburg]," Venter said.

Another notable name in the race is Matthew Goss. The former Milan-San Remo winner joined the British ONE Pro Cycling squad, and it will be the first time the Australian has taken part in the Tour de Langkawi. "Le Tour de Langkawi is a race I’ve always looked at during my career and I always wanted to do it," he said. "Finally I get an opportunity with One Pro Cycling and there’ll be a lot of opportunities for sprinting here in the next eight days."

The eight-stage Tour de Langkawi begins on Wednesday in Kangar. With the Genting Highlands finish absent again this year, the race's main difficulty will be the fourth stage to Cameron Highlands.