KUALA LUMPUR - Having missed the past two editions of Le Tour de Langkawi, the Bardiani-CSF team, previously known as Colnago-CSF when they last animated the race with Domenico Pozzovivo in 2011 and won stage 7 to Kuantan under the pouring rain with Marco Canola in 2012, will return to Malaysia with a great desire to show that Italy still has big cycling talent to expose to the world.
As a wild card team for the Giro d’Italia, they won no less than three stages in the world’s second biggest race with Canola, Enrico Battaglin and Stefano Pirazzi last year. Managed by the Reverberi father and son (Bruno and Roberto) since 1982 (!), the outfit now famous as “the greenteam” is Italy’s talent factory. Their rich history has very close ties with Le Tour de Langkawi.
In fact, no other team has won as many stages at LTdL as they have under the different names of Scrigno, Navigare, Panaria and Colnago-CSF. Canola scored their 34th victory three years ago.
On that tally, Gianni Savio’s team, successively named Aguardiente, Colombia-Selle Italia, Diquigiovanni and Androni-Venezuela, collected 24 successes while giants Mapei, also from Italy, follow with 15.
“Almost every year that we’ve taken part, we’ve won the last stage in Kuala Lumpur”, Roberto Reverberi noted. “We’d be glad to do that again with our new sprinter Paolo Simion.” Luca Cei was the very first cyclist to win in Dataran Merdeka on LTdL’s first grand finale in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building and the Royal Selangor Club in 1998. He did it again one year later.
Graeme Brown (2002 and 2005), Ruben Bongiorno (2003 and 2004) and Mauro Richeze (2008) also claimed the last stage for Reverberi’s squad.
However, Le Tour de Langkawi gets more often mentioned for the first ever of Alessandro Petacchi’s 184 pro victories! With Scrigno-Gaerne, he claimed stage 6 as he emerged from a four men breakaway in Mersing in 1998. “We came back with him the year after and we used several tactics, including favouring a winning breakaway in the Genting stage, to make him the King of the Mountains before he became the super sprinter that everybody knows”, Reverberi recalled.
“Along with France and Belgium, Italy is where the heart of cycling beats so we’re delighted to welcome Bardiani-CSF back since they’re experts in developing Italian talents”, said the CEO of the 2015 Le Tour de Langkawi Datuk Malik Mydin. “I’m sure they’ll use our roads to give some indications about the future of cycling.”
Simion will be the man to watch in the sprints while the Sterbini brothers and Simone Andreetta have an excellent reputation of climbers and attackers in Italian amateur cycling. The average age of the Bardiani-CSF team for LTdL is 21.6 years! Those very young guns will be directed in Malaysia by Mirko Rossatto who appears on the record book as number 1 on Reverberi’s list of 34 stage wins since he preceded Petacchi by two days when he claimed stage 4 from Kota Bharu to Kuala Terengganu in 1998.
THE BARDIANI-CSF TEAM FOR THE 2015 LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI:
Luca STERBINI, Simone STERBINI, Simone ANDREETTA, Luca CHIRICO, Alessandro TONELLI, Paolo SIMION (all from Italy).