The Malaysian cycling scene gained a massive win in prominence and credibility following the unforgettable debut of L’Étape Malaysia, dubbed “the World’s Greatest Amateur Cycling Event” on June 4 in picturesque Desaru Coast.
The successful series, which has been organized in over 20 countries including France, China, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil and Australia has now successfully made its way to Malaysian shores which saw the participation of 4,700 participants.
The mass participation made it officially the second largest L’Étape race after France, with people from all walks of life converging to share a unified love for cycling.
L’Étape participants certainly felt the aura of a Tour de France rider as they experienced the scenic backdrop of Desaru Coast with its beautiful landscape, smooth flat roads as well as the Speed Zones.
It was not only an unforgettable experience for the riders, but they also got to revel in several exciting events in the lead-up and on raceday. This included the cultural performances from Warisan Johor, French Music Performances and French Pastry Classes that took place at the Festival Village on June 3-4.
In total, over 10,000 visitors from participants as well as family and friends turned out to enjoy the activities at the Festival Village which made it an overwhelming success.
Even though participating in an amateur event, the participants made it a competitive affair that made for an exciting finish especially in the 140KM individual category.
Muhammad Elmi Jumari was crowned the men’s champion in the 140KM individual category with a time of 3:11:11, while Yeong Zhen Yi crossed the line as champion in the women’s 140KM individual category with a time of 3:14:29. Elmi was surprised with his victory, as he had took part only to help his friend.
“Me and my friend both reached the final stretch together, and I managed to win it by a whisker. I certainly did not expect this, as I had only came to help him. I would like to thank the Royal Malaysian Police as their employee, to allow me to train full time for this event,” said the 30-year-old.
Elmi’s reward is an all-expense paid trip and participation to the L’Étape Du Tour de France 2023.
L’Étape Malaysia co-organizer MUSE Group Asia and Sports Johor Sdn Bhd was thrilled with the success of this debut event.
“We were excited to bring this event to Malaysia but didn’t know how big it could be until we saw its success this weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a more successful participation from both the amateur and seasoned riders. From the evidence of this event, all the riders and spectators had a great time which is a testament to the growing cycling interest in not only Malaysia, but Asia as a whole,” said MUSE Group Asia CEO Riduwan Matni.
Sports Johor General Manager Hj. Mohd Johari bin Tarmidi said the success of L’Étape Malaysia will pave the way for more sporting events to be held in the state in the future.
“We are proud to host this event in Johor, and to see how well it has been received. Our commitment to hosting more sports events in the state has been tremendously encouraged after witnessing what sports can bring to the community,” he said.
Menteri Besar of Johor Datuk Onn Hafiz Bin Ghazi congratulated the organizers for making this a truly memorable event.
“We had generated RM13 million from this event, which is a testament to the hard work all parties involved had put in to make this successful. L’ÉtapeMalaysia also marks the start of more sporting events to be held in Johor in the coming months,” he said.
Datuk Onn Hafiz also witnessed the mock cheque ceremony by L’Étape Malaysia and Iskandar Investment Berhad to The National Autism Society of Malaysia worth RM21,000.
The sponsors were also esctatic to be part of this event and shared their enthusiasm.
“The Vibes has two teams participating in L’Étape with The Vibes Leaders comprising corporate leaders and The Vibes legends, comprising ex national athletes who now exercise and cycle for fun. Credit goes to Muse and Johor Sports for pioneering this major events that marks the reopening of borders and is to boost tourism as well as outdoor sporting and recreational activities,” said Editor in Chief of Petra News which publishes The Vibes and its Bahasa Malaysia sister portal Getaran.
“We are honoured to be part of L’Étape Malaysia as the main official partners. In Chek Hup, we always value life and we do believe work-life balance is an important aspect of promoting and sustaining a healthy and quality work environment. Hence, we hope our employees and and consumers would love and enjoy outdoor activities that help them to build a positive mindset to embrace all the difficulties in their lives,” said Chek Hup Group Managing Director, Joseph Tan Huang Kew.
“Etiqa General Insurance Berhad is honoured to be the main insurance partner at the inagural L’Étape Malaysia. The race resonates with Etiqa’s organizational culture of making things Fast & Easy, whether it is to purchase, submit claims or receive payouts, and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all cyclists for completing this challenging course, especially the fastest finishers of today’s race,” said Fukhairudin Mohd Yusof, Chief Executive Officer of Etiqa General Insurance.
“Malaysia Airlines is delighted to be the official airline partner for this historic cyclosportive series, which has been long-awaited for cycling enthusiats across the nation. As the national carrier, we are pleased to continue elevating our national brand presence through an international sporting event like L’Étape Malaysia and combine our shared commitment to excellence, discipline, and tenacity to take Malaysia to greater heights. We are also committed to supporting the recovery of tourism and business activities in the state by facilitating safe and seamless travels through our MHflypass range. With a selection of convienent passes, guests can enjoy three return trips and exclusive perks, at fixed rates. Mhflypass is available for domestic as well as regional travel, through our recent introduction of Mhflypass ASEAN,” said Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi, Group Chief Operations Officer of Malaysia Airlines, the official partner for L’Étape Malaysia.
“As an international destination, we are extremely proud to be the official venue of the successful debut of L’Étape by Tour de France in Malaysia. Offering ample choices of accomodation, facilities, infrastructure and ease of access, Desaru Coast has the capacity and space for mega-size international outdoor sporting and lifestyle events. With L’Étape Malaysia as a showcase, Desaru Coast is gearing up to host more international sporting events in the months to come, supporting the effort of the Johor state in reviving the tourism industry,” said Roslina Arbak, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd., master developer and operator of Desaru Coast.
“Malaysia’s participation in L’Étape Malaysia marks our proactive effort in supporting Malaysians’ well being with sport nutrition aminoVITAL® among passionate long-distance cyclists. aminoVITAL® – the number one brand in Japan as the only jelly drink with amino acids in Malaysia, contains 3,000 mg of amino acids with mainly Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) that helps participants in muscle endurance, energy boosting and muscle recovery. We are confident that collaboration with such iconic event would elevate our brand awareness and can relate better to the endurance sports enthuasiasts community,” said Lee Soon Howe, General Manager of Ajinomoto Malaysia Berhad.
The partners for L’Étape Malaysia include Official Venue Desaru Coast; Malaysia Airlines as the Official Airlines; Main Partners Chek Hup and Majlis Sukan Negeri Johor; aminoVITAL as the Official Sport Nutrition; Official Radio BuletinFM; and Official Insurance ETIQA General Insurance. Supporting Partners include; Official Cycling Device Garmin, Official Eyewear Oakley, Official Car Hap Seng Star Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, Official Watch Tissot, Official Apparel ZOOT, Official Protein Drink OPI, Official Insurance YAS Microinsurance, Iskandar Investment Berhad, Cycology, Majlis Kebajikan dan Sukan Anggota-Anggota Kebajikan (MAKSAK), ChampionChip, Orange Room, FACTOR, Plan A, The Westin; along with Media Partners TIKTOK, TheVibes.com, Cycling Malaysia; as well as Strategic Partners French Embassy Malaysia and CCI France Malaysia.
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – INDIVIDUAL MEN (140KM) : OPEN CATEGORY – YELLOW JERSEY|
|1st Place||Muhammad Elmi Bin Juhari||3:11:11||Malaysia|
|2nd Place||Dow Wei, David Cheam||3:13:17||Malaysia|
|3rd Place||Hishamudin bin Aalaudin||3:13:53||Malaysia|
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – INDIVIDUAL WOMEN (140KM) : OPEN CATEGORY – YELLOW JERSEY|
|1st Place||Yeong Zhen Yi||3:14:29||Malaysia|
|2nd Place||Ines Neumann||3:17:19||Germany|
|3rd Place||Woo Shirong Ava||3:18:24||Singapore|
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – INDIVIDUAL MEN (140KM) : SPRINT CATEGORY – GREEN JERSEY|
|1st Place||Anuar bin Manan||Malaysia|
|2nd Place||Muhammad Elmi Bin Jumari||Malaysia|
|3rd Place||Matthieu Bedard||Canada|
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – INDIVIDUAL WOMEN (140KM) : SPRINT CATEGORY – GREEN JERSEY|
|1st Place||Boram Seo||Korea|
|2nd Place||Woo Shirong Ava||Singapore|
|3rd Place||Jinella Chua Shiang-Li||Singapore|
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – MEN’S TEAM (140KM)|
|Position||Team Name||Team Net Time|
|1st Place||Nacho Maglia Cycling Team||09:42:24|
|L’ÉTAPE MALAYSIA – WOMEN’S TEAM (140KM)|
|Position||Team Name||Team Net Time|
|1st Place||Team Kayuh||12:16:33|
|2nd Place||ANZA Racing||14:52:18|
|3rd Place||SPCC Women 1||15:44:17|