One of our favourite early season races, the Tour de Langkawi, gets underway tomorrow and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are excited to be starting the UCI 2.HC event as two time defending champions.
The Tour de Langkawi has long been a race that has treated our African Team well. In 2015 we had Youcef Reguigui win the overall classification and last year, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg also managed secure the overall title for us. Heading back to the event this year, aiming for a hatrick of wins will be one of our toughest challenges yet.
Once again the race will consist of 8 road stages, stage 4 being the main climbing day to the Cameron Highlands and the other road stages generally all suiting the sprinters. With only 6 rider teams though, it is always difficult to control the race and so a break could slip away on any given stage. If the sprinters teams are able to keep the race together, then we expect the main time differences to be made by gaining bonus seconds in the sprints and then obviously on the Cameron Highlands 4th stage too.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will start this year’s race without either of our past champions but Jacques Janse van Rensburg will be returning for his 6th Langkawi participation. Our first year pro, Ryan Gibbons, will get his chance to be the protected sprinter at this race and support will be provided by Nicolas Dougall, Mekseb Debesay, Adrien Niyonshuti and Ben O’Connor.
Oli Cookson – Sport Director
We are very happy to be here in this interesting and beautiful country and also at this race which we have a special history with. Tactically it will be very different this year as we are the only World Tour team, yet there are many other strong and experienced riders and teams that will make the race hard and complex, particularly with only 6 riders. We have a mixture of youth and experience and we will use the race to give Ryan a chance to show himself in the sprints, but take the race day by day considering the time bonuses and overall route towards the GC.