Tour de Langkawi, January 29th to February 7th 2003

Stage 1: Greetings to all from Malaysia time trial kicked off today then we were whisked of by boat to the mainland. One of our riders, Lars Bak, was in the top 20. Tomorrow is 140 kms, not so hilly but there is a lot of guns rearing to go, well the prize money is 300,000 U.S dollars so its going to be fast. All is good in the team the riders are all in good spirits the weather is in the 30’s. All the equipment at this moment is on its way to the hotel here and 2 Malaysians guys are bringing it here it is expected to arrive by midnight so I am down to my last nail???. There is a lot of transfers and this pisses of the riders but the organisers are trying to get as much money into it as possible so that’s the way it is. I will keep you posted on the stages when I get a chance have been working flat out since I went to the presentation last week no rest for the wicked hope you are all well and getting ready for your season best.

Stage 8/9: Good day sports fans or good morning whichever time scale you are on. Today is the last stage of the Tour de Langkawi. Yesterdays stage was the feared stage to the mountain top of Ghenting Highlands which in the last 5 kms you are in a 25 sprocket???? Fakta were represented in the last 10 kms. One of our riders Rene Jorgensen was in the group with the yellow jersey and then the shit hit the fan as Roland Greene, the mountain biker from Canada attacked after Munoz of Selle Italia. Then the bodies started to scatter all over the place. Julian Winn who was in the top 20 lost 30 minutes on the climb and finished with Tommy Evans. Overall the young stud from Silkebourg Denmark “Lars Bak” was the most impressive he rode well all week and 3 days ago was caught with 1 km to go with 3 others, he is one to watch for the future and at the tender age of 22 his teammates like winding him up with SMSs from a mysterious woman in Malaysia who wants to meet this 6 ft 5 blond haired chick magnet and they will come to his room on the last night to show her interest in him???? All in all its been a good race but very tiresome with the temperature in the 35 degree mode lots of transfers Malaysian helpers who ‘spreak bery likkle engrish’. The food is good though and the people are friendly. Tomorrow we fly to Frankfurt and then I take a 7 hour train ride to Switzerland. My next race is Leguilla in Italy, then Haribo Classic and Tour de Haut Var in France. The others go to Greece to the Tour of Rhodes(jammy swines). I got flicked for that one, we do 2 races in Switzerland then Paris-Nice. Well u are all going out on your bikes today beware of the ice tomorrow is cancelled swimming pool probably a game of water polo shopping in the city and of course the food????

Stage 10: Sunday was a good day to be a sprinter in Kuala Lumper. Even Pros have Lead out men????, but these two were a little confused on who was going to win. The 2nd place went to Graeme Browne of Panaria and 1st place went to Bonjourno of Panaria! I saw the Photo Finish and it was pretty embarrassing as the 3rd place Stu O’Grady was nowhere near them and the two of them had bikes thrown out, elbows out and the like (kind of like the last corner at Balrothery on a summers evening???) Fatka were to the fore again with Lars Bak. He got away with 2 riders. They had a gap of 40 seconds at one point during the crit. One of them punctured and as it was raining and the other was on slicks and couldn’t go hard into the corners. This is where I would like to say Vittorias CX work in the wet. The other rider was on Michellins???? Anyway they got caught with 2 laps to go but Lars has earned himself a bit of a reputation in the peleton. Let’s hope it goes further. His training this winter, as he informed me, was long 6 to 7 hour rides at low intensity, as in previous years he has done 4 hours at a higher intensity and was dead by about June or so. But it is only the first race for him. The last night in Kuala Lumpur was a good one. The whole of the race landed in the Hard Rock Cafe until the wee hours of the morning. ‘No sories from school’, but Jaysus fit and all as they are, they can down the lager!! Monday was a 10AM start with packing up all the bikes into the bike bags, wheels -18 pairs incl 2 pairs of lightweights, the Ulrich jobbies. They are reeeely light, you are afraid to clean them as they are so fragile???

Once that was done, we went into the city for some shopping. CD’s are priced at 97 cents, DVD’s 1.50 Euro, designer watch imitations at 20 Euros,Tee Shirts, designer bags, Oakleys, 36 degrees of heat and every person in Chins behind the counter trying to drag you over it to buy something saying ‘Happy pwice 4U sir, is Chrinese Nrew Year’. Its about a 2km stretch of stalls, stench of food and sweat,people with limbs missing at their side of the road with begging bowls, pickpockets, and every time you go by a stall, they are like the traders on Moore St without a licence, the shutters come down a 5×4 ft table is folded into a bag and they are gone in seconds. By the time you have reached the end you are so tired of haggling over a Rolex(for 20 Euro!!), you just want to get on a plane and head home to Europe, but i did have a great time drinking with Stuie O’Grady and Chris Jenner. It’s funy listening to them talk about the gallops. O’Grady gave one rider a bollickin’ because he would stop to pee and this guy would stop and up to the finish he was edgin’ him off Graeme Browns’s wheel!!! He said he took it easy for the first 3 days because there were too many guys getting in the way who didn’t know how to sprint, and there were too many cowboys switchin’ and actin’ like Juniors !! He waited till the 5th stage, which he won and then took one more. Now that’s class!!!!

Well talk to you soon. I hope the Malaga Chain Gang are buying their Sun Tan creams for Sunday. the girlfriends are being brought again, not like it used to be when we went over……..when men were men ……and Sean was the King of Mijas!!!