Team Heads to Le Tour de Langkawi and Tour de Taiwan with Confidence and Momentum
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team heads to South East Asia this week for two important races on the UCI Asia Tour. First up is Le Tour de Langkawi, a UCI 2.HC race that has become known for its competitive fields and long, humid climbs. The eight-stage race begins on February 24th in Kangar on the small Malaysian Island of Langkawi, and runs through March 2nd.
Shortly after the conclusion of the Tour de Langkawi, the team will take on the Tour de Taiwan, a UCI 2.1-ranked race that takes place over five days in early March. A hotbed of design and manufacturing activity within the cycling industry, Taiwan also boasts amazing riding with huge climbs that feature heavily in the parcours.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is bringing strong and confident squads to both races with the potential to capture stage wins while also placing well on the General Classification rankings.
As one of the oldest stage races in Asia, Le Tour de Langkawi will be celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2016. The race will traverse the most famous climbs of the country and also pay a visit to the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. With four flat finishes designed for the sprinters, and four stages that feature significant climbing, the racing will be varied and unpredictable from the start to the finish. The new eight-stage format will offer more chances for excitement, and also cover more of the fantastic geography that Malaysia has to offer. In the climbing department, The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will be represented by Janez Brajkovič, Jonny Clarke, and Daniel Jaramillo. The climbers will relish the challenge of the Cameron Highlands climb on day four. The ascent will serve as the finish of the 129-km stage and the most significant uphill challenge of the race, gaining close to 1000 metres in total, of which 300m fall in the last 5km. Watch for fireworks from the climbers on this fantastic finish.
Racing in Langkawi for the 6th time, Jonny Clarke has come to know the challenges this unique event involves, “The heat and humidity is a big challenge. Staying hydrated and keeping the body temperature down is key. Langkawi is a great race and it’s a pleasure every time I come back. I’m looking forward to doing battle with my boys.”
On the flatter stages, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will look to Ty Magner, John Murphy and Tanner Putt. Immediately following Saturday’s climbing stage is a flat and fast route through the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Featuring a short and crowd-friendly 8-km finishing circuit that will be raced three times, this stage will be frenetic right to the line. Coming off of a successful season opener in Australia at the Herald Sun Tour, the powerful John Murphy is looking forward to toeing the start line in Malaysia, “This year’s Tour de Langkawi route reveals another sprinter-friendly tour. I am super excited to start in Malaysia after a successful start to the season at the Herald Sun Tour.”
Reflecting on the hard work and preparation that the riders have put in as a team over the winter, Murphy is confident of what the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train can achieve, “We did our homework over the winter and are ready to keep winning this year. I see a lot of opportunity in the Tour de Langkawi, and I plan on seizing every chance we get in the sprints.”
Just four days after the team races in Langkawi, the Tour de Taiwan begins on March 6th. The day after the Taipei International Bicycle Show, the Tour de Taiwan has become known for its climbs in the centre of the island and sprinter-friendly finishes. The selection of the six-person squad reflects the rolling terrain of the race, where the team will aim to capitalise on breakaways and unpredictable racing. Fresh off multiple strong finishes at the Tour of Qatar, Marco Canola is well-suited to the shorter and sharper climbs in Taiwan. The final stage of the race, christened “Terrific Taiwan” by the race organising committee, features four King of the Mountain points over the 147.5-km distance. The shorter climbs create opportunities for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team to put riders in the front of the race. With experienced rouleur Danny Summerhill racing the event for the second time, the team brings knowledge that will be invaluable in the heat of the competition. Summerhill is confident coming into the event, “With a lot hard races already in the bank, I can only imagine we’re going to have a team of six super strong riders eager to win.”
Le Tour de Langkawi Roster
- Jani Brajkovic
- Jonny Clarke
- Daniel Jaramillo
- Ty Magner
- John Murphy
- Tanner Putt
Tour de Taiwan Roster
- Carlos Alzate
- Marco Canola
- Daniel Eaton
- Adrian Hegyvary
- Danny Summerhill
Mike Tamayo, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team General Manager, will be on the ground in Taiwan to direct the team. Having been to the race many times before, Tamayo is confident of what the squad can achieve, “Stage wins are something we always strive for, and in Taiwan we have always been competitive for the General Classification. We have a great roster that can pursue the top step.”