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“It’s well known that it’s an advantage for the riders to have climbed up to Genting Highlands before. Duarte has that knowledge of our legendary climb so he’ll be one of the hot favorites of the 19th edition for sur...

Photo: Sirotti






30.12.2013 @ 13:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Colombia will do its first race on Asian soil when the South American team lines up for the Tour de Langkawi in February. The team will bring its captain Fabio Duarte to the race, with the Colombian expected to shine on the legendary summit finish in Genting Highlands.


In its third season in the big league of cycling, Pro Continental outfit Team Colombia will make their debut in a race that particularly suits Colombians cyclists as four of them have won Le Tour de Langkawi previously (Hernan Dario Munoz in 2002, Freddy Gonzalez in 2004, José Serpa in 2009 and 2012, Julian Arredondo in 2013).


With Venezuelans José Rujano and Jonathan Monsalve appearing on the record books in 2010 and 2011 respectively, the past five editions of the race have been conquered by South American climbers, all competing for Italian-based teams. Therefore, the performances of Team Colombia from February 27 to March 8 will be closely watched.


The “escarabajos” (the beetles, which is their official nickname) will try to make history as it’ll be the team’s first ever entry on the Asia Tour. “Over the last few years, Le Tour de Langkawi has experienced a big rise in participation and overall quality”, noted team manager Claudio Corti. “We’re very glad to have been invited and ride in Malaysia for the first time. It gives us the opportunity to bring our projects in a different area set to acquire a bigger role in world cycling in the future.”


For Le Tour de Langkawi, Team Colombia has selected no less than their captain Fabio Duarte who honored the team’s first participation to a Grand Tour as he clinched a memorable second place in the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia to the mythical Tre Cime di Lavaredo behind overall winner Vincenzo Nibali on an epic ride marred by snow storms in May this year.


Duarte, now 27, has the experience of having taken part in Le Tour de Langkawi before. As a very young professional with Gianni Savio’s team Diquigiovanni in 2007, he rode in support of his compatriots Serpa and Walter Pedraza who ended up on the final podium in second and third place respectively, behind French star Anthony Charteau.


That has given him an insight into the challenges of the feared climb to Genting Highlands which usually decides the GC in a race that is otherwise dominated by sprinters.


“It’s well known that it’s an advantage for the riders to have climbed up to Genting Highlands before”, chief operating officer of LTdL Emir Abdul Jalal commented. “Duarte has that knowledge of our legendary climb so he’ll be one of the hot favorites of the 19th edition for sure. We’ve often seen Colombian climbers shining up there but for the first time, we’re delighted to welcome a fully Colombian team composed of Colombian riders only. We expect them to be very united around their team captain.”


But as much as Colombia is famous for producing climbers at high altitude, it shouldn’t be a surprise to witness Corti’s team winning on a flat terrain as well with the presence of 33 year old sprinter Leonardo Duque who concluded the Italian season in style with winning the GP Beghelli last October, and another fast man in Jeffry Romero.


The team is completed by climber Robinson Chalapud and Julio Camacho and Juan Pablo Valencia.


Team Colombia for LTdL 2014 :

Julio CAMACHO, Robinson CHALAPUD, Fabio DUARTE, Leonardo DUQUE, Jeffry ROMERO, Juan Pablo VALENCIA



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