KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) could see a different kind of rider claiming the overall title on Sep 29-Oct 6.

The National Sports Council (NSC), which is the race organiser, yesterday announced that the race’s iconic climb up to Genting Highlands (hors categorie) has been replaced with Fraser’s Hill in stage four (148.9km) due to roadworks at the former.

The climb up to Fraser’s Hill will come early in the stage, roughly between the 20 and 40km mark, followed by a long descent before ending in Bentong.

It will be the second climb of the tour as the riders will face a hors categorie climb up to Cameron Highlands in stage three (170.3km).

LTdL Chief Operating Officer Emir Abdul Jalal believes the fourth stage could suit the puncheurs.

“It is a different kind of challenge, to do well in the fourth stage a rider must be good at both climbing and descending,” said Emir when contacted today (May 15).

“The climb itself is not as brutal as Genting Highlands, where the gradients can reach between 18 to 20 per cent towards the finish.

“But after cresting the summit at Fraser’s Hill there is still about 70km left to go before the finish with three intermediate sprint points which offer bonus seconds. So the fourth stage could definitely be the queen stage and decide the outcome of the general classification.

“We are expecting the peloton to be split but to what extent, we just have to wait and see. Riders who might have lost time on the Cameron stage could look to bounce back in the fourth stage.”

The climb up to Genting Highlands is usually the queen stage of the tour with the steep final section often separating the contenders from the pretenders.

This has often led to the pure climber-types securing the green jersey (general classification).