January 31/02 9:17 am - Langkawi Presentation
Posted by Editor on 01/31/02
Langkawi Team Presentation
It finally feels like the 2002 Tour de Langkawi is about to get underway, with the official presentation of the teams taking place earlier today in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
This was the first chance I have had to see all the Canadians together - 7 with team Canada and Dominique Perras with his new team, iTeamnova.com. The mood was relaxed and informal, but everyone is ready to race.
Eric Wohlberg is the only member of Team Canada to have raced Langkawi before, for the rest of the team, including manager Ron Hayman, this is their first trip to Malaysia. Especially for some riders it was quite apparent that this race is at a whole new level of competition.
Ryder Hesjedal finally got his bike back earlier today, but both he and Josh Hall are still waiting for their clothes (they are expected to show up this evening). The saga of their trip to Malaysia is a story in and off itself.
After snow delayed everything in Victoria, they ended up spending the night in Las Vegas, before finally reaching Los Angelas and boarding the flight to Kuala Lumpur. Heavy headwinds slowed this flight down as well, so they estimate that it took approximately 50 hours to complete their journey.
Now the attention turns to the first stage - a 20.3 kilometre individual time trial. Josh Hall has the distinction of being the first rider off the starting ramp, and thus the first (albeit probably temporary) leader of the Tour. Eric Wohlberg, the time trial specialist of the team goes about halfway through the field, and Hesjedal gets two-time defending champion Paolo Lanfranchi (Alexia Alluminio) to chase as his minute man. The last rider is expected to finish just before 8:00 am EST.