Following a strong start to their season in the International Rhodes Grand Prix and the Tour of Rhodes in Greece, Italian Professional Continental team Bardiani CSF now shift their focus to Le Tour de Langkawi 2018 with the obvious target of helping their new sprinter Andrea Guardini add to his record collection of stage victories in this race.
In lining up a squad built around Guardini’s target of finishing off the peloton in bunch sprints to the finish line, team manager Roberto Reverberi has designated two lead-out man for his 29-year old sprinter in Michael Bresciani and Paolo Simon.
Simone Sterbini, Umberto Orsini and Luca Wackerman will be the trio the team banks on in the only mountain stage in Cameron Highlands.
“One squad went to Greece before this and returned with some good results and a race with eight stages like LTdL, which is also an important race in this part of the world, it will be another challenge for another group of our riders,” said Reverberi.
“This is also an important race for our team because this is where we usually race in the early part of the season in recent years.”
Last year, Bardiani registered their first win of the 2017 season through Enric Barbin in LTdL and after registering a win in the Tour of Rhodes earlier this year through Mirko Maestri, Reverberi said Bardiani wants to increase their collection of victories through Guardini in LTdL.
Guardini, aptly given the nickname “Mr Langkawi” for being so prolific in this race with 22 stage wins since his debut here in 2011, is coming from a dismal season with the UAE Team Emirates last season and will be looking to Bardiani, who equally have an impressive list of LTdL stage winners in their history, to lift him again.
“We are coming to LTdL with our morale high and have set targets of making a big impact here. We have come with a strong team, with full support for Guardini for the bunch sprints. With a top sprinter in this race, we realise that we have a big role to play throughout the eight stages.
“Apart from that, we still want to produce some good results in the climbs through Sterbini, who has been riding well recently, so that all the hard work the team put into in training throughout January would be worthwhile,” said Reverberi.
Bardiani CSF is no stranger to LTdL, having been an ever-present team in this race under different title sponsors since the early years, racing as Scrigno-Gaerne, Navigare-Gaerne, Ceramiche Panaria, Panaria and CSF Group, before their latest incarnation.
Through LTdL too, the team had launched the careers of a number of world class sprinters in Alessandro Petacchi, Greame Brown and Maximillian Richeze.
The 23rd edition of LTdL will begin with the team presentation in Langkawi on Friday, before the opening stage is flagged off in Kangar on Sunday for a stage that ends in Kulim.
The UCI 2.HC status race, covering an overall distance of 1,341.2 km throught eight states in Peninsula Malaysia, will see 22 teams competing for honours.
LTdL 2018 is organised by Ciclista Sports with the full support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.