KUALA LUMPUR – The constant changes to the riders’ list by several teams ahead of Le Tour de Langkawi 2023, slated for September 23-30 has not left organizers perturbed.
Chief Operating Officer of LTdL 2023, Emir Abdul Jalal, said that the matter is considered as nothing unusual as teams are only required to register the final roster at the team managers’ meeting held usually the day before the race starts, or 72 hours before their flight tickets are booked.
Despite having given an initial list of riders, reserve riders, managers, mechanics and medical officers, Emir said, some teams had previously made several changes after that, especially on the list of six riders who will ride in the team colours.
The situation is expected to continue to happen in these two to three weeks, thus triggering various debates as to who and which team will dominate in the four-jersey competition of the 27th edition of the LTdL 2023.
“This is actually common especially for the big teams in the WorldTeam and ProTeam categories because they will assess the strength level of their own riders, the race profile and also compare them with those from the other teams.
“They will also need to meet the team’s own goals, whether it’s for the individual or team jerseys, dominating the final sprint or conquering the climbs, in addition to putting in a competent Under-23 rider for the young rider competition.
“These are all factors that every top team always takes into account before deciding on their final list of riders.
“And this is the situation that the LTdL 2023 secretariat is currently facing. But we consider it as being normal as we have been through this several times before.
“In fact, last-minute changes like this are also faced by other big race organisers around the world,” he said in a media statement, today.
Emir said, among the teams that had already made amendments to their preferred list of riders for this year’s race are Astana Qazaqstan, EF Education-EasyPost, Team Corratec-Selle Italia, Tudor Pro Cycling Team and Euskaltel-Euskadi.
“From the changes, we can ascertain the team’s target and priorities for this LTdL such as Astana who has included two expert sprinters whereas EF Education and Euskaltel are focuscing on the climbs,” he added.
The list of 22 competing teams have been completed following the confirmations from the final two teams – Bolton Equities Black Spoke Team (ProTeam) from New Zealand and Thailand Continental Cycling Team (Continental) last week.
As such, the organiser of LTdL 2023 – the National Sports Council (MSN) – is now into their final lap of preparations to bring the teams to Kuala Terengganu, ahead of the team introduction ceremony that will be held a day before Stage 1 from Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu begins.
Three ProTeam teams – Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane; Team Corratec and Bolton Equities as well as KSPO Professional from South Korea – can be seen as serious contenders this time around where they have made the decision to arrive five days earlier than officially expected.
The teams are willing to pay for their stay in Kuala Terengganu, in order to adapt to the prevalent weather conditions.
More interestingly, some ProTeam outfits are also focussing on one-day races in Europe and the United States as a warm-up, while Continental teams are currently participating in races in Turkey and Iran, and the Tour of Taihu Lake in China on September 14-17 to push their riders further
The eight-day LTdL 2023 race that passes through 11 of the 12 states in the Peninsula with a total distance of 1,277.1km is organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports through MSN in collaboration with the National Cycling Federation of Malaysia (PKBM) and is placed under the status of ProSeries.