PETALING JAYA: Professional cycling team EF Education-EasyPost are ready to paint the town pink!

The American-based UCI World Tour team, known for their famous bright kits have confirmed their partici pation in the 27th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) and will parade their riders Simon Carr from Great Britain and Jefferson Cepeda from Ecuador to lead the challenge from Sept 23-30.

Carr is a winner of the fifth stage of the Tour de Alps in April 2023 while Cepeda won the Young Rider of the Year title at last year’s Giro di Sicilia.

The team, who have world-class riders like United States’ Neilson Powless, Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran and New Zealand’s Tom Scully are known for their funky and bright kits during UCI events.

Having competed in top cycling tournaments like the Le Tour de France and Giro D’Italia, the side managed by former cyclist Jonathan Vaughters are looking at winning the team title at the LTdL this time around.

EF Education-EasyPost finished second last year after losing to Team Movistar who fielded strong riders like Ivan Sosa.

However, the path of the EF Education-EasyPost Team is not expected to be easy as another UCI World Team, Astana Qazaqstan from Kazakhstan will also parade their best riders.

The competition will also have eight other teams with UCI Pro Team status.

Completing the number of teams are 11 UCI continental squads, including the Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team (TSG) featuring Mohd Nur Aiman ​​Zariff, winner of the Mountain King Jersey for the second time in a row since 2020 and Jambaljamts Sainbayar who was crowned the LTDL Asian Rider of the Year 2022.

The Malaysian highway cycling squad led by coach Mohd Yusuf Abdul Nasir complete a total of 22 teams competing in the LTDL this time.

National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the confirmation of EF Education-EasyPost would ensure LTdL will be of a high standard.

“These teams are bringing their best riders,” said Shapawi.

“The NSC, in the final process, concluded an agreement with international and local broadcasters to ensure the LTdL this time is shown live in a minimum of 10 countries as stipulated by the UCI. We will also hold several side events, including planting 2,023 trees throughout the race route.

“We are also committed to ensuring that all issues and problems that crop up will be properly addressed, for example, booking flight tickets for every team in a transparent manner and settling the appearance fees as quickly as possible.

This year’s edition will cover a total distance of 1,280.3km, starting from Kerteh, Terengganu, on Sept 23 and through 11 of the 12 states in the peninsula before ending in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 30.

– The Star