Le Tour De Langkawi 2008 – Local hope Anuar could sprint to glory

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: Anuar Manan is Malaysia’s best bet to spring surprises for the “green jersey” (sprint category) in the 13th edition of the Tour of Langkawi (LTdL) cycling championships from Feb 9-17.

The LTdL chief operating officer, Datuk Naim Mohamed, said that Anuar, who rides for Le Tua, was on form and he had the ability to win a stage as well.

“There is a possibility that local riders could steal the show this time … or win at least the Asian category,” said Naim after receiving the Milo-sponsored “green jersey” for the sprint champion of the LTdL from Nestle Products sports marketing manager Ng Ping Loong at a press conference yesterday.

He added that Malaysian cycling enthusiasts had something to look forward this time with strong support from other local sprinters, including Ahmad Haidar Anuwar and Sayuti Zahit.

Malaysian outfit Le Tua were the biggest winners in the seven-stage Tour of Malaysia a fortnight ago.

They emerged as the best local team, finishing third overall in 65’04:23.

Their Indonesian rider, Tonton Susanto, sealed the individual title (red jersey) in 21’32:38.

The 22-year-old Anuar, who retained the sprint crown at the Tour of Malaysia, said that he would give his best shot in the races against the likes of defending champion Alberto Loddo from Italy, who won five stages last year.

“I will give it a try, for sure,” said Anuar.

Besides Loddo, who rides for Tinkoff, there is also Germany’s Danilo Hondo, who is making a return after a two-year ban. Hondo, who now rides for Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli, was a former stage winner at the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain.

The other European teams coming with top sprinters are Credit Agricole with British veteran Jeremy Hunt, Bouygues Telecom with Aurelien Clerc of Switzerland and Rony Martias from Guadeloupe and Ag2r-La Mondiale with Belarus’ Alexandre Usov.

The LTdL starts in Alor Star on Feb 9 and ends with the traditional criterium race at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 17.

Nestle will also be sponsoring the Milo Bike Challenge at the start and finish venues.

The bike challenge will comprise several events like the Junior Sprint Challenge, Street Bike Challenge and the Bicycle Stunt Act.

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