As Le Tour de Langkawi is known as champion making factory, the young man to watch will be Australia’s Caleb Ewan when the twentieth edition of the race will kick off on Malaysia’s Paradisiacal island on March 8. The 20-year-old will line up as Orica-GreenEdge’s top sprinter for the eight-day long event set to finish in Kuala Lumpur.
“Le Tour de Langkawi will be my first race of the year out of Australia”, Ewan announced from his home in Moss Vale, New South Wales. Sitting out the Santos Tour Down Under he took part in last year with his national team, he’ll warm up at the newly created Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on February 1st and the Herald Sun Tour from February 4 to 8.
“The team has chosen for me a racing calendar that allows me to target some victories”, the Australian explained. “Winning is my reason to cycle. I’m excited to ride Le Tour de Langkawi as I know I’ll have some opportunities to try and win a stage or more. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Malaysia and I’ve seen many pictures of sprints from this race. They look great!”
Ewan officially started his pro career with the 2014 Tour of Beijing where he placed second in stage 1 after taking the silver medal at the U23 world championship for road racing in Ponferrada, Spain. Having mixed blood since he was born (in July 1994) from a Korean mother, he feels a strong attraction to Asia even though the successful career everyone expects for him will take him mostly to Europe under the wings of superstar Simon Gerrans who also participated in Le Tour de Langkawi in 2008.
“Our race has a 20-year long history of Australian sprinters delivering a great show on our roads”, said the CEO of the 2015 Le Tour de Langkawi Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin. “I remember watching Jay Sweet winning stages in the very first edition back in 1996. It’ll be great to see Caleb in Malaysia before he performs in Europe.”
With Le Tour de Langkawi, Ewan also follows the path of David McKenzie, a stage winner in 1999 turned into a brilliant TV cycling commentator, Graeme Brown who won nine stages from 2002 to 2005, Stuart O’Grady, a double stage winner in 2003, and so was Michael Matthews in 2010. In the history of the race, Australia is second to Italy with 24 stages wins in total.
To back Ewan for stage wins at LTdL, Orica-GreenEdge has selected a strong contingent of time triallists and lead out men with Damien Howson, Sam Bewley, Adam Blythe and Leigh Howard alongside their GC rider Pieter Weening who returns to Malaysia for the third year in a row. The Dutch stage winner of last year’s Giro d’Italia finished second in the 2013 LTdL behind Colombia’s Julian Arredondo.
“Weening is a world class rider, also a former pink jersey at the Giro”, added Datuk Malik. “His desire to come back is an honor for us, Malaysians. We’re looking forward to seeing these great cyclists in action here.”
ORICA-GREENEDGE FOR LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI 2015 :
Caleb EWAN (AUS), Sam BEWLEY (NZL), Damien HOWSON (AUS), Leigh HOWARD (AUS), Adam BLYTHE (GBR) and Pieter WEENING (NED)
Organised by Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, the 20th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from 8 to 15 March, 2015 is set to cover more than 1,000km over 8 stages, the UCI 2.HC (hors category) race featuring again as one of the biggest events on the UCI Asia Tour calendar.
Photos by Le Tour de Langkawi 2015 & Mark Gunter