WITH slightly less than five weeks left, organisers Human Voyage has intensified efforts to ensure that preparation for Malaysia’s premier cycle race PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 (LTdL 2020), scheduled to commence in Kota Kinabalu on Feb 6, runs smoothly without major glitches.
While acknowledging the huge logistical challenges of bringing the prestigious event to East Malaysia Sabah for three major happenings in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching which include the official team presentation, an International criterium and Stage 1 of the race, the organisers remained upbeat and determined that any challenges can be overcome with the cooperation of all related parties.
“Yes, it’s going to be an enormous logistical challenge for us, but we are fully prepared. We have mapped out meticulous preparation right to the smallest detail especially in the handling of teams, logistics and transportation.
“Apart from bringing in our own entourage of well-experienced teams and personnel form our headquarters, we will be collaborating closely with the locals and experts as well as all related agencies in both states. We are thankful to both Sabah and Sarawak for the great cooperation and we are prepared for any eventualities,” said Human Voyage CEO Datuk Ahmad Mustafa.
LTdL returns to East Malaysia Sabah for the first time after a lapse of 23 years where the second edition of the Tour was held in 1997.
2020 marks a significant year for the Tour as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary race since the staging of the inaugural 2.6-ranked edition in 1996. LTdL 2020 is now graded as a UCI-Pro Series race, just a notch below the World Tour Series (Grand Tour – Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta Espana), UCI Classics Series and other UCI WorldTour races.
The 8-stage race starts at Padang Merdeka in Kuching on 7 Feb 2020 and ends in Kuah, Langkawi on 14 February 2020.
Kota Kinabalu will host the Team Presentation ceremony on Feb 5 followed by the Criterium International race, to be staged in the heart of the city on Feb 6 in conjunction with the silver jubilee celebration.
The Criterium International is scheduled over a distance of 95.2km, providing great opportunities for Under-23 Malaysian and ASEAN riders to compete against UCI elite and professional cyclists in a highly competitive atmosphere.
From Kota Kinabalu, the entourage then moves to Kuching for Stage 1 which starts and finish at Padang Merdeka. Upon the completion of Stage 1, the race entourage heads for Kuala Terengganu via flight for Stage 2 the following day.
The 25th-anniversary celebration will conclude with the one-day Malaysia Classic race, dubbed the “Race of the Champions” on 15 February in Langkawi which features national champions from all over the world.
According to Datuk Ahmad, Sabah and Sarawak stand to gain immensely with the staging of the race in both states following the strong presence of foreign teams, riders and officials and international media corps from all over the world.
“Over the one-week period, the race entourage which includes international television and media will converge in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. It will indeed derive economic benefits as well as worldwide media exposure. This certainly augurs well not only for the promotion of sports and cycling in the states but help project and feature the unique culture and great attractions both states have to offer,” said Datuk Ahmad Mustafa.
Some 132 riders from 22 teams are expected to participate in this year’s Tour which include the World Tour, Pro Continental and Continental outfits from across Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and America.
In conjunction with the race’s 25th Anniversary, various sporting and social activities have also been planned as part of its efforts to engage and excite the community.