Le Tour de Langkawi 2022: Movistar, EF armed with grimpeurs

Le Tour de Langkawi 2022: Movistar, EF armed with grimpeurs

Both WorldTeam challengers putting hopes in climbing specialists Einer Agusto Rubio Reyes, Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo, Oscar Rodriguez

KUALA LUMPUR – As this year’s Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) ends with an uphill race, WorldTeam challengers Movistar and EF Education-EasyPost are bringing their top climbers in pursuit of the coveted yellow jersey in the 26th edition, which begins next week in Kuala Pilah.

Spanish-based Movistar and USA’s EF Education, appearing for the first time in the 2.Pro race, are putting their trust in its three notable grimpeurs when the race heads for Genting Highlands on Stage 3 and the penultimate climb in Gunung Raya.

Movistar is depending on two Colombian climbers, Einer Agusto Rubio Reyes and Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo as well as Spanish national Oscar Rodriguez to make an impact in the eight-day race which runs from October 11 to 18.

The 27-year-old Rodriguez, the stage winner in the 2018 Vuelta Espana and King of Mountains in the Tour of the Alps, leads a strong challenge in the mountains, especially in the climb up to Genting Highlands.

The Burlada-born rider is now ranked 349th in the World and was formerly with Astana for the 2020-2021 season before joining Movistar this year with an overall second spot in the Tour of Hongrie as his best result.

In 24-year-old Sosa, Movistar can rely on his experience to put up a strong challenge in the peloton as the former Androni-Sidermec rider was part of the LTdL peloton in 2017, where he finished 15th overall.

Sosa’s talent was evident when he was riding with Androni and caught the eyes of several top teams, but the Pasca-born rider eventually headed to Team Sky for the 2019-2021 season before joining Movistar this year.

His most notable achievements include clinching the King of Mountains in Volta a Burgos 2019 and the yellow jersey in Vuelta a Asturias, as well as 10th overall in this year’s Volta a Andalucia.

Rubio, 24, is another rider who could make an impact, having been with the team since 2020 and has already tasted action in two Giros in 2020 and 2021.

Apart from climbers, Movistar will also be boosted by reputable sprinters with 137th UCI-ranked German sprinter Max Kanter, 24, formerly with Sunweb and DSM, ready to unleash his power on flat routes.

Brazilian-born Vinicius Rangel Costa, 21, and Denmark’s time trial national champion, Mathias Norsgaard Jogensen, 25, are expected to be the lead-out men to pull Kanter to the front in bunch sprint finishes.

Meanwhile, EF Education-EasyPost, currently ranked 15th in the UCI team rankings, is also equipped with top climbers comprising Colombian duo, Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio, 32, and Diego Andres Camargo Pineda, 24 as well as Ukrainian Mark Padun, 26.

Chaves, currently ranked 113th in the world, was a former Orica GreenEdge and Mitchelton-Scott rider who regularly featured in Grand Tours.
Chaves’ notable palmarès include winning three stages in Giro d’Italia and two stages in Vuelta a Espana from 2015 to 2019.

Camargo who was roped into EF Education in 2021 is another climbing talent who featured in last year’s Vuelta and the recent Giro while Padun, formerly with Bahrain-Merida and has participated five times in Grand Tour, is also a name to watch due to his aggressive riding style, clearly evident in last year’s Criterium du Dauphine.

Currently managed by former world champion Tejay Van Garderen, EF will also have the services of two Dutchmen, Julius Van Den Berg, 25, and Marijn Van Den Berg, 23, as well as Ecuadorian Jerferson Cepeda, 26.

This year’s edition of the LTdL starts with a 157.3km Stage 1 ride from Kuala Pilah to Kuala Lumpur before continuing with Stage 2 from Kuala Klawang to Raub (178.9km).

The gruelling climb up to Genting Highlands comes early on Stage 3 from Putrajaya (131.9km) followed by Stage 4 from Sabak Bernam to Meru Raya, Ipoh (137.9km), Stage 5 from Kuala Kangsar to Kulim (172.0km), Stage 6 from George Town to Alor Setar (120.4km), another climb from Kuah to Gunung Raya (Stage 7, 90.8km) in Langkawi and ends with a 115.9km Langkawi Loop in the final Stage 8.

The LTdL 2022 is set to be among the most competitive editions in recent years following confirmation by six WorldTeam outfits – UAE Team Emirates (UAE), Cofidis (France), Lotto Soudal (Belgium), EF Education EasyPost (USA), Movistar (Spain) and Astana-Qazaqstan (Kazakhstan).

Four other ProTeam outfits, Drone Harper-Androni Giocattoli (Italy), Uno X-Pro Cycling (Norway), Alpecin-Deceuninck (Belgium) and Burgos-BH (Spain) will add more excitement and colour to the Tour.

Continental teams Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team and Team Sapura Cycling of Malaysia are among the front runners while the other confirmed entrants were Mula Cycling Team and Roojai Cycling Team of Indonesia, ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast (Australia), China Glory Continental Cycling Team (China), ProTouch (South Africa) and Kuwait Pro Cycling (Kuwait).

Regional teams slated for the tour include Thailand Continental Team (Thailand), Team UKYO (Jepun), 7-Eleven Cliqq Air (Philippines) and the Malaysian National team.

source – The Vibes


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