Jan 24, 2012
A GRAND BOOST FOR TERENGGANU IN THE 17TH EDITION OF LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI
25 January 2012, KUALA TERENGGANU - Long established as the hotbed of Malaysian cycling, the picturesque state of Terengganu continues to innovate when it becomes the first ever venue host sponsor in the 17th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) which will be held from February 24 to March 4.
For the first time ever, the UCI 2.HC status race will break away from tradition, not just with the finish being held outside of Kuala Lumpur for the first time, but also with the State Government of Terengganu providing RM1 million in sponsorship to host the final three stages of the race in their state.
Similar to the concept of Tour de France’s “Grand Départ” where the start of the race is up for bidding each year and has been held in Monaco, London, Dublin, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Though the Tour de France course changes every year, the race has always finished in Paris along the Champs-Élysées.
Terengganu's selection as the host for the final three stages beginning with the finish venue in Chukai for the 100.8-kilometre Stage 8 which starts in Pekan, Pahang on March 2, followed by the start and finish of Stage 9, covering 165.7 kilometres from Kemasik to Kuala Terengganu and the final stage, which also breaks away from the traditional criterium with a start in Tasik Kenyir and the 114.8 kilometre stage sees the peloton circulate for three laps in a circuit around the city centre before the grand finish at Dataran Syahbandar.
The selection of Terengganu as the first ever host venue sponsor is also due recognition to the State for its efforts in being at the forefront of development in the sport, having produced a constant stream of talent including the likes of national track stars Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah Mustapa, along with a host of road stars like Anuar Manan, Adiq Husainie Othman and Harrif Salleh. The state also sponsors the country's only professional team, the Terengganu Cycling Team, a UCI Continental Team.
Menteri Besar of Terengganu Datuk Seri Ahmad Said in his speech, thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the opportunity given to Terengganu to become one of the major sponsors of the race.
"The organisers have actually given us more than what we had expected initially as in our discussions held in Nilai last year, they'd only promised us one stage, either the grand depart or grand finish. But now the Ministry have taken it a step further by giving us the chance to host what is actually two and a half stages, so it would have been very difficult for us to refuse this offer. So, I really thank the organisers for this opportunity," said Datuk Seri Ahmad.
"I am quite certain that the organisation of these stages will provide a massive impact which will help strengthen the national economy, especially in the areas of Sports Tourism and Sports Industry. These objectives are also the reasons why we are involved in an event of such magnitude."
Also present in the sponsorship announcement ceremony held at Wisma Darul Iman were Director of MSN Sports Management Division Dato’ Hj. Ab Jalil Abdullah and Tuan Haji Abu Samah Abdul Wahab president of Malaysian National Cycling Federation.
Dato’ Hj Ab Jalil expressed the organiser’s gratitute towards the tremendous contribution by Terengganu for LTdL and the country.
“Most of the country’s best riders are born and groomed here, LTdL will benefit tremendously from this and we are honored by the state’s contribution and all the efforts taken towards the growth of cycling in our country. “ he said.
Datuk Seri Ahmad also announced that in conjunction with Le Tour de Langkawi, Terengganu will also be holding a state-wide Cycling Month and a series of Yellow Rides in the build-up to the race, while the venue for the grand finish, Dataran Syahbandar in Kuala Terengganu, will host a carnival that begins a week before the finish.
"I also hope that with the commitment given by the state, the organisers would also provide the people of Terengganu with the chance to see their homegrown stars in action," said Datuk Seri Ahmad.
He called for the organisers to invite the likes of the Champion System team of China which has two Terengganu-born riders in Anuar Manan and Adiq Husainie Othman and the OCBC Cycling Team of Singapore which has recently hired Ahmad Haidar Anuawar, who is from Kemaman.
"It doesn't matter which team they are riding for, what is important is they are from Terengganu and it would give the people of Terengganu great pride to cheer them on in the race," said Datuk Seri Ahmad.
LTdL 2012 is organised by the National Sports Council as a mark of continuity to the organisation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2010 and 2011 in collaboration with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation. The race maintains a 2.HC (Hors Classe) status and is recognised and sanctioned by the UCI and UCI Asia Tour. LTdL 2012 is expected to feature 22 professional teams.
The 10 day race begins on February 24 with Individual time trial along a 20.3 km course in Putrajaya to kick off the race; followed by stage 2 Putrajaya - Melaka (151.0km); Stage 3 Ayer Keroh - Parit Sulong (187.6km); Batu Pahat - Muar (169.4km); Ayer Keroh - Pandan Indah (190km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (205.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (165.7km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (114.8km).