After a successful debut in Malaysia last year, L’Étape Malaysia is back with a host of latest upgrades to give cycling enthusiasts a big mission to fulfill when the Tour De France race model gets underway from July 7-8 at the sun-kissed shores of Desaru Coast.
Dubbed “The World’s Greatest Amateur Cycling Event”, L’Étape by Tour de France is the only cyclosportive series that gives amateur cyclists the opportunity to truly live the Tour de France experience where they will race like a Tour de France participant.
Last year’s participation drew a total of 4,700 participants, making L’Étape Malaysia to be officially recognized as the world’s second largest L’Étape by Tour de France.
L’Étape has been organised in more than 20 countries including Malaysia, and for this edition alone over 2,500 participants have signed up so far, with organizers confident of securing 4,000 entries before the closing date of 9 June 2023.
Like last year, L’Étape Malaysia will consist of five racing categories. They include THE RACE (140km) and THE RIDE (60km) made up of individual men and women, as well as the Men’s Team (5 men) and Women’s Team (5 women).
This year’s edition will also see the introduction of the ELITE Category, a limited category that is dedicated exclusively to participants who want to challenge themselves like the pros.
Professional race services will be provided for this category, including dedicated mobile feeding, professional timing chip, dedicated traffic and logistics support, dedicated neutral services and much more.
Not one to sit on their laurels despite a good turnout last year, the co-organizers MUSE Group Asia and KPRJ Sports have noted feedback from the last year’s participants and pledged to stage a more comprehensive spectacle.
One key implementation this year is the introduction of an advanced timing chip technology, in a move to ensure the participants’ precise finishing time upon crossing the finish line.
The 2023 L’Étape Malaysia will also feature an improved technical team to drive enhanced performances from the racers. Cyclomotion – the leading technical provider for amateur racing, will form part of the L’Étape Malaysia technical crew, which means a bigger race technical team from troubleshooting to performance-related assistance.
Racers can also expect a different challenge this year with a new route introduced at the long, shaded course of Desaru Coast. The 60km and 140km race routes will be separated so that they do not overlap, allowing cyclists to put their full focus on finishing with their best personal time.
While having separate routes would cost the organizers more due to more route collaterals, it is a small price to pay compared to the racing convenience and overall experience for the participants.
This is backed up by big support from the local authorities, including sufficient traffic personnel to ensure the race flow is smooth from start to finish. To reduce the risks of accidents, the water and aid stations will no longer be stationed by the road shoulder, rather it would be transformed into an “R&R” pitstop for participants to stop and fuel up.
The “R&R” would have its own space, meaning cyclists would have to turn away from the racecourse for their break, and this ultimately decreases the possibility of a pile-up, especially amongst first-timers who are not accustomed to water station stops.
A comprehensive race e-guide, including safety instructions, would also be distributed before the race. These will be sent to the registered racers, and a short instructional video would also be available prior to race day.
To further prepare for race week, there will also be an eight-week L’Étape Cycling Clinic powered by aminoVITAL® where studio trainers train alongside interested participants. aminoVITAL® is a sports drink that contains 3,000mg of amino acids mainly Branched Chain Amino Acids, that helps in energy boosting, muscle endurance and muscle recovery.
Helping athletes carve out a successful career is also one of the objectives of L’Étape, which is set to be fulfilled through last year’s male champion Elmi Juhari and female winner Yeong Zhen Yi who will participate at the L’Étape Du Tour de France along with another Johor-born cyclist, Heng Zi Hen.
The Johor-born representation comes as a testament to the growth of road cycling in the state, and L’Étape Malaysia is giving a dream opportunity for this individual to participate at the prestigious L’Étape du Tour in France. The L’Étape du Tour de France is a mass cycling event happening the same week as L’Étape Johor.
Elmi, Yeong, and Heng are set for the ultimate experience of competing at the highest level in ‘Wave 0’, which is a starting group composed of all the winners from L’Étape races across the globe.
MUSE Group Asia is proud to fulfill its promise of sending these three representatives to the L’Étape Du Tour de France, and are confident the introduction of the latest technology and safety features would set this event apart from last year.
“We wanted these selected cyclists’ to experience the best of L’Étape, and we are honoured to send them to the prestigious L’Étape Du Tour de France. We have worked hard to ensure that the participants’ get an enriching overall experience, especially when it comes to their safety and race timing. We want them to be able to go out there and give their best with a peace of mind, and we will strive to make that happen,” said Riduwan Matni, CEO of Muse Group Asia.
Yang Berhormat Tuan Hairi Bin Mad Shah, Chairman of the Youth, Sports, Entrepreneur Development, Cooperatives and Human Resources, was happy to welcome this international event to the Southern state once again.
“Hosting L’Étape Malaysia last year went some way to reinforcing the event on the global map. With diverse participation from more than 40 countries this year, we are certain that Johor will also benefit immensely from the domestic tourism boost as we welcome them to experience our various attractions. Sending the Johor-born cyclist to the L’Étape Du Tour de France is also a testament to Johor’s commitment to sports development to continue unearthing new talents. We look forward to working together with all the stakeholders to make this another successful event,” he said.
For that, KPRJ would be working in tandem with Muse Group Asia to ensure the racers’ expectations are met. “Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (“KPRJ”) through its subsidiary, KPRJ Sports Sdn Bhd (“KSSB”) believes for this second year of organising the event, we will deliver the best racing experience for our participants, and it is evident through the latest introductions for this year’s event. We encourage every budding cyclist out there to come and be part of this premium global cycling event,” said Yang Berhormat Dato’ Lukman bin Abu Bakar, Chief Executive Officer of KPRJ.
Ambassador of France to Malaysia His Excellency Axel Cruau was looking forward to everyone converging yet again for this iconic event. “Since 1903, Le Tour de France has been so much more than a cycling race! It is a competition that tests human limits, and yet that everyone can relate to. It takes place in the unique landscapes of France, and yet it is a show that the whole world can enjoy. It is a part of our national heritage that this year we are thrilled to share in Johor with our Malaysian friends,” he said.
“Chek Hup has been the official beverage sponsor – Coffee, Tea & Chocolate of this iconic cycling event for two consecutive years now. We are thrilled to be part of the cycling community once again, and to play our part by serving chilled and refreshing Kokoo Peppermint Chocolate Drink as an energy fuel to help the riders give their best performances. By constantly beholding the core principle of ‘We Value Life’, Chek Hup ensures that its beverages are all natural without any additives or artificial flavourings,” said Joseph Tan, Group Managing Director of Chek Hup.
Roslina Arbak, Chief Executive Officer of Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd., master developer and operator of Desaru Coast, said, “As an international destination, we are once again extremely proud and happy to be chosen as the official venue of L’Étape by Tour de France in Malaysia. This year, we are pleased to have Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast join in as the Official Hotel for the event.”
“Venue hosting L’Étape Johor has become a Desaru Coast showcase to more international sporting events. As one of the biggest cycling tournaments in the world, hosting L’Étape by Tour de France has not only benefited our destination, it has brought a wider gain to the greater Desaru community. For this reason, Desaru Coast is committed to its longstanding support to Johor state in making Johor a hub for sports tourism in the country. We hope to continue making Desaru Coast the home to L’Étape Malaysia in the years to come,” said Roslina.
For more information including the race routes, accommodation ideas, and other FAQs, go to www.letapemalaysia.com / www.facebook.com/letapemalaysia / www.instagram.com/letapemalaysia / www.tiktok.com/@letapemalaysia