ALOR STAR: The Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) will mean significantly more with the reintegration of its namesake island as part of the tour this year.

Hence, Kedah Youth and Sports committee chairman Muhammad Radhi Mat Din expressed gratitude for Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh’s announcement that Langkawi will host the opening stage.

“We are thankful as Langkawi rejoins this year after being excluded last year. There have been constraints, perhaps in terms of funding, leading to a shortfall of RM2 million to RM3 million, I believe.

“This year’s inclusion is a recognition that this is the true essence of LTdL. Without Langkawi’s participation, it would have lack significance.

“We extend our gratitude to Minister Hannah Yeoh and all involved parties for bringing LTdL back to Langkawi,” he told reporters after an iftar event yesterday.

Radhi said the event would also bring over an economic spillover to Kedahans in Langkawi.

“This will, Insyaallah, provide assistance. It’s a blessing for the economy, encouraging local businesses there,” he added. Commenting further, he advised businesses and traders in Langkawi to be ready for the surge of tourists during the event.

“But with one condition, let’s keep prices fair, let’s not take advantage. We don’t want to exploit the situation because when something good happens, we should welcome our guests graciously,” he added.

After being excluded from the tour last season, Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) is set to return to Langkawi this year and also make a few stops in Sarawak.

Yeoh, who opened the LTdL launch event in Bukit Jalil yesterday, said 11 states will be involved in the UCI ProSeries race which will be held from Sep 29 to Oct 6.

Langkawi will host the opening stage, a short 96.5km affair, on Sep 29.

Sarawak will host the last two stages, which includes a 199.3km penultimate stage on Oct 5 from Miri to Bintulu.

The final stage, on Oct 6 will be held in Bintulu. The whole tour will cover a total distance of 1,191km.