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10th Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi
By Podofdonny
Date: 1/3/2005
10th Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi

Please visit the official Tour de Langkawi website.

Race Continues In Spite of Tsunami Tragedy

The recent horrific tsunami has not effected the schedule of the 10th Tour de Langkawi. Neither the route, hotel resorts or facilities involved with Le Tour de Langkawi 2005 have been affected by the tsunami. The organisers' preparations for the event continue and remain unaffected. In fact the organisers are busy devising a donation programme around the event and hope that in its 10th year it will serve as a valuable fund raiser for those who really need their help.

Scheduled to start on Jan 28 and end on Feb 6, the Tour will pass through nine states and cover a total race distance of 1,281.1km. With several of the world's top teams already confirmed and a prize money of RM1.6 million, LTdL is becoming Asia's most prestigious road race. In keeping with tradition of the Tour, several new towns, including Kepala Batas, the home of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, will make their debut as a host venue.

The Tour has already attracted the likes of Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel and Joseba Beloki's Liberty Seguros outfits, and Tour regulars Panaria Magres have confirmed they will bring their normal strong squad to the race. Olympic Team Pursuit gold medallists Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster will compete in the 10th Anniversary race later this month. Controversial sprinter Brown has previously won a total of four stages in Malaysia and plans to add more to his impressive tally. Lancaster hopes to repeat the Olympic form he showed earlier this year when he scored an impressive solo win into Raub on stage 3.

Besides Lancaster and Brown, who won two stages and the green jersey in last year's Tour, Panaria's line-up look as capable in the mountain stages, with Spaniard Julio Alberto Perez.

This means a potent climbing combination in the making, with Perez complemented by former Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave climber Fortunato Baliani. The inclusion of ace riders is an indication the team are taking the Tour seriously and will be gunning for the leading prize of RM1.6 million for the 10th edition of the race this year. Apart from winning the final stage in recent years, the team have consistently performed well in the eight years they have been coming for the race. Ceramiche Panaria's best result in the individual category was Perez's second placing in 2000. Mercury's Christopher Horner won the Tour that year.

Also in Panaria's squad are Mirko Allegrini, Guillermo Buongiorno and Sergiy Matveyev.

The famous Orange shirts in the Tour of Britain. Photo by Dave O'Nyons.

A highly successful year in 2004 has given the inspiration for Action Cycling Team to gun for more victories in the new year, beginning with Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi. The Polish outfit, eyeing a spot on the lucrative Pro Tour, enjoyed several wins in the recent season and have guaranteed their place in the Continental Professional teams classification for 2005. Poland has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and this has led to an emergence of many professional cycling teams in recent years, the strongest being Action.

Whilst most of the team’s riders are Polish, the highly rated Bogdan Bondariew of Ukraine will be leading the challenge for LTDL. Bondariew has notched 18 professional wins throughout his career, with his success in the Tour of Poland in 2001 being one of the main highlights. The 28-year-old was also instrumental in leading the team to lift the double at the highly competitive Solidarity Race in 2004 – winning the individual title and leading the team to the overall team classification. Bondariew, 28, has notched 18 professional wins throughout his career, with his success in the Tour of Poland in 2001 being one of the highlights.

Another notable rider in the Action Team is Thomas Brozyna, the two-time national champion of Poland. He has also ridden for the US Postal team, Banesto and CCC Polsat.

With a best finish of 21st place in Le Tour de France 2001, Brozyna took the title at the GP Cycliste Beuce in Canada in June this year - ahead of Australian Nathan O'Neill.

Ready for Action – Courtesy Action Team. Click for larger image.

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