American outfit UH eye better showing in LTdL

PETALING JAYA: American pro conti­nental team United Health­care (UH) will return to the Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Feb 24-March 4 with bigger ambitions.

Team manager Mike Tamayo said they planned to do much better than they did in their LTdL debut this year.

UH’s German sprinter Robert Forster won stage eight (Kuala Pilah-Jasin), was second in the seventh (Banting-Tampin) and the final stage (Shah Alam-Kuala Lumpur) and third in stage nine (Malacca-Nilai).

“We had a strong showing with a stage win and several podiums,” said Tamayo.

“We are aware of the growth of the event and cycling in Malaysia but we plan on bigger success at the 2012 edition.”

Forster claimed three Giro d’Italia stage wins and a stage in the Tour of Spain with team Gerolsteiner from 2006-2007.

He moved on to team Milram in 2008-2009, but did not do well with just a single stage win in the Tour of Turkey in 2009.

In the 2011 Tour de Langkawi, the UH team hooked up with former Omega Pharma-Lotto sporting director Hendrik Redant who was working as the Tour radio officer.

Redant will chart the team’s course next year.

Forster will be lining up as the favourite in the bunch sprint finishes next year as he will have the help of an Australian trio of leadout men in Karl Menzies, and Clarke brothers, Jonathan and Hilton.

The 10-day Tour begins with the individual time trial along a 20.3km course in Putrajaya

The United Healthcare team for the Tour comprise Robert Forster (Germany), Hilton Clarke (Australia), Jonathan Clarke (Australia), Adrian Hegyvari (us), Jake Keough (Us) and Karl Menzies (Australia).

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