As Le Tour de Langkawi celebrates its twentieth edition, a moment to remember from its rich history will be stage 9 from Putrajaya to Seremban in 2007 when Pavel Brutt stormed to victory. The Russian versatile rider will be back in action on Malaysia’s paradisiacal island when the race will kick off on March 8 for an eight-day journey to Kuala Lumpur.
“That day remained one of the best memories of my cycling career”, Brutt commented. “It was hot and I was so exhausted from climbing up to Genting Highlands the day before that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the stage. But I ended up in the winning breakaway and I found the resources to attack from the front group and finish solo [7th overall]. It was a historical moment for our team too.”
Eight years ago, LTdL invited the young Tinkoff Credit System that just registered as a Pro Continental team as it looked like being a team for the future. Brutt delivered their first ever victory in Malaysia. The Russian outfit eventually became Katusha in 2009. Brutt was their longest serving domestic rider until he moved to Tinkoff-Saxo during the last transfer window.
Russian millionaire Oleg Tinkoff bought the Saxo Bank team at the end of 2013.
“It’s wonderful to realize that such powerful people in cycling like Oleg and his team’s general manager Stefano Feltrin remember that Le Tour de Langkawi was the very first race organization of a UCI 2 H.C. event to invite them and they’re happy to come back now that they’re one of the world’s best teams if not the best”, noted the CEO of the 2015 LTdL Datuk Malik Mydin.
“We’ll have a very well balanced team for Le Tour de Langkawi”, said Brutt who will take part for the fourth time. “We aim for a top 5 overall with our Colombian climber Edward Beltran. We’ll go for the sprints with Michael Kolar who knows the race very well since last year [the Slovakian finished third in the points classification]. I intend to take part in many attacks and hopefully come up with another win like eight years ago.”
“Being new to this team, I want to show to the staff which kind of rider I am”, Brutt continued.
“I’ve started my season earlier than usual with the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia and I also have the Tour of Qatar on my program before I fly to Malaysia. I love my job more and more every year. This year I’d like to be part of a team that will win a Grand Tour with Alberto Contador.”
Brutt who already participated in eleven Grand Tours including the Tour de France three times showed his early season form by finishing fourth in the sixth and last stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.
THE TINKOFF-SAXO TEAM FOR THE 2015 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Edward BELTRAN (Col), Jesper HANSEN (Den), Pavel BRUTT (Rus), Michael KOLAR (Slk), Bruno PIRES (Por), Nikolay TRUSOV (Rus).
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