The 27th edition of the country’s premier cycling race, Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), will once again greet local enthusiasts from 23 to 30 September 2023.
The organization of this world-class race is a joint partnership between the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) as the owner of LTdL and the Malaysia National Cycling Federation (PKBM) which is the governing body of the sport in the country.
This year’s edition will be handled by the National Sports Council (MSN) and will involve eight stages of racing over eight days across 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia with a total distance of 1,280 kilometers.
“Even with only eight days of cycling, this time the LTdL 2023 route will cross 11 of the 12 states in the Peninsula regardless of political beliefs and differences,” said Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Hannah Yeoh at the Launch Ceremony of the LTdL 2023 Logo, Image and Route Announcement here, today.
For this year’s race, it will be organised by the same team that collaborated in the 2012-2014 editions between KBS through the National Sports Council (MSN) and the Malaysia National Cycling Federation (PKBM) that received the ‘Excellence Level of Organisation’ recognition from the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Themed ‘Beat The Heat’, is a continuation of the previous themes of ‘The Heat Is On’ and ‘The Heat Is Back’ which depicts the bitter challenge of climbing up Genting Highlands and the scorching heat that the racers have to overcome.
At the same time too it also depicts the warmth of the welcome and cheer by the thousands of spectators at the start, finish line and also all along the route.
“I am sure that in the hundreds of thousands of school children who lined up and cheered under the scorching hot weather, new champions will be born in the sport to follow in the footsteps of luminaries like Dato’ Azizulhasni Awang, Anuar Manan, Harif Salleh,” she said.
Hannah pointed out that LTdL 2023 will still maintain the concept of ‘Sports Tourism’ which is very effective in promoting Malaysia in terms of tourism, investment and international trade because its international TV broadcast reaches almost 300 million viewers worldwide.
This displays not only Malaysia’s uniqueness but also its economic strength, cultural diversity and most importantly the unification and unity of the people.
In addition, the organization of LTdL also provides for the generation of economic spillovers for local businesses at all start and finish venues.
On the same note, Hannah said that the ministry’s allocation to host the event is quite limited, and as such she welcomes more sponsors to come forward to provide support to ensure the smooth running of the race.
“It has become the responsibility of the organisers of this event to provide as much platform as possible to promote all the states involved and give returns to sponsors,” said Hannah.
Also present at the launch ceremony were Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Adam Adli Abdul Halim, Director General of the National Sports Council (MSN), Dato’ Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, PKBM President Dato’ Abu Samah Abdul Wahab, KBS Secretary General Dr K Nagulendran, Deputy Secretary General (Management) Abdullah Hassan and Deputy Secretary General (Strategic) Ramona Mohd Razali.
The LTdL which was introduced in 1996, has a Pro Series status, just a rung below the UCI World Tour Series, namely Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta Espana, Classic competition and other World Tour races.
Meanwhile, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of LTdL 2023, Emir Abdul Jalal said the route selection for the 27th edition was chosen to pass through as many cities, towns and small towns as ensuring a high level of challenge to riders.
Starting in the town of Kerteh, Terengganu, the 184.4km Stage 1 of the 2023 LTdL will end in Kuala Terengganu, followed by Stage 2 the next day which starts at the Kuala Terengganu Draw Bridge and ends in Kota Bharu for a distance of 186.2km.
Stage 3 is considered to be a very challenging new route because it involves two difficult climbs, namely the route from Jeli, Kelantan to Baling, Kedah for a distance of 177.1km, which gives an early impression of who will be the challengers for the overall individual yellow jersey and the Raja Bukit (KOM) jersey in this edition.
Stage 4 of the 2023 LTdL involves a short but testing ride from Bukit Mertajam, Penang to Meru Raya, Perak for a distance of 140km.
“After the first 4 stages, Stage 5 with a distance of 133.3km is expected to be the real determination of who will wear the yellow jersey and the KOM jersey when the riders go through Slim River with difficult ‘hors category’ climb to Genting Highlands which has been the ‘queens’ stage’ of LTdL for the past 26 editions,” said Emir.
Although the remaining three stages are considered to be relatively gentle and easy, they are predicted to be intense and important for the riders and the team in their efforts to try to seize the overall yellow jersey.
Sprinters will have the chance to further increase the points battle for the Sprinter’s jersey, starting from Stage 6 in Karak to Dataran Pahlawan, Melaka for 176.6 kilometers; Stage 7 Muar to Seremban 2 with 125.7km and then the final Stage 8 from Setia Alam to Kuala Lumpur (157.0km).
“We are also trying to introduce some new start and finish locations in this event such as Kerteh, Jeli, Baling, Bukit Mertajam, Slim River, Seremban 2 and Setia Alam,” he said.
Emir added that as many as 22 teams with six riders per team have already been identified to take part in this tour, involving 3 WorldTeam; 7 ProTeams; 11 Continental Teams and 1 Malaysia national team.