THE recent PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2020, held for the first time as a UCI ProSeries race, concluded on a high note with organisers Human Voyage promising exciting elements and even tougher challenges next year.
For 10 days, including two days of the specially-organised one-day races, held in conjunction with LTdL’s 25th anniversary, local and global cycling fans and people alike were treated to a world-class action and colourful cycling extravaganza.
Human Voyage Chief Operating Officer, Shahaizereen A Hamid expressed relief over the successful organisation of the race, adding that despite facing various organisational challenges, the 25th edition of the race was conducted in great cycling atmosphere and tradition with minimal hiccups.
“It was another milestone for us as we managed to overcome some major challenges including the reduced number of World Team outfits as well as the Covid 19 virus outbreak. I’m glad that we managed to ensure that the race runs smoothly as plan,” said Shahazaireen. It was Human Voyage’s third time as organisers after twice organising the national prestigious Tour in 2015 and 2019.
It was heartening to see the participation of local communities and people from all walks of life making their ways to venues and routes as the entourage sneaks its way passing through remote areas, town, districts, cities and kampungs from Kota Kinabalu to Langkawi. Despite the presence of only one World Tour team (NTT Pro Cycling), crowd attendance along the route as well at all start and finish host venues, were extremely encouraging as compared to last year’s with various venue like Kerteh, Taiping, Genting and Penang registering huge number of spectators.
Unlike the 1997 episode, the International Criterium and Stage 1 races in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching respectively were successfully conducted in great cycling atmosphere with Human Voyage looking forward to continuing its collaboration with both states in future races.
Despite the Covid-19 virus outbreak in China which led to the withdrawal of two Chinese-based teams and the cancellation of many other international sporting events, the Tour took place as scheduled and produced some “firsts” including the historical two-stage wins by TSG and Terengganu born rider Mohd Harrif Saleh, which made him the first Asian rider to win three stages in LTdL’s 25-year history.
Off the road, the celebration was even exciting with the participation of local vendors and side event organisers which added to the colourful atmosphere at all start and finish venues.
This includes the collaboration with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) which helped draw huge number of visitors to venues apart from contributing to the local economic activities.
“All in all, I’m totally satisfied with the running of this year’s LTdL. It was a great team effort and I thanked all parties who were involved in one way or another in contributing to the successful organization of the race,” said Shahaizereen.
“It’s still too early to confirm whether the Borneo stages will still be in next year’s route. There were positive feedbacks from both Sabah and Sarawak but it all depends on the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the government of both states,” he added.
He added that the fact that Malaysia, through Mohd Harrif Saleh of Terengganu Inc TSG Cycling Team and Muhamad Nur Aiman Zariff (Team Sapura Cycling), managed to produce two world-class road racing champions is proof of LTdL’s significant impact on the development of local cycling.
“Moving forward, we will continue to improve on the organisational aspects and help project Malaysia’s positive image through LTdL,” said Shahaizereen, adding that some of the top European teams including two World Tour teams have expressed deep interest to be part of next year’s peloton.
Meanwhile, title sponsor PETRONAS, expressed satisfaction over the successful organisation of the 25th edition, saying that it has helped create greater economic and social benefits to the local communities and country.
President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 has lived up to its status as the country’s premier cycling race which helps promote sporting excellence and simultaneously drive the country’s tourism industry.
The organisational success of this year’s race was made sweeter with the historical double-stage victory of Malaysian rider Mohd Harrif Saleh of Terengganu Inc-TSG team as well achievement by Malaysian professional outfit Team Sapura Cycling who won the PETRONAS Yellow Jersey and the overall mountains classification.