PUTRAJAYA: With the theme of “Beat The Heat”, the country’s cycling tour competition Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) will once again rumble on Malaysian roads from September 23-30.

The organisation of the 27th edition of the International Cycling Union (UCI) ProSeries world touring race is a joint venture between the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) as the owner of LTdL and the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

This edition, which involves eight stages across 10 states and one Federal Territory in the peninsula, covers a highway route of 1,280.3 kilometres, will be handled by the National Sports Council (NSC) which was the organiser from 2012 to 2014 with an excellent record recognised by UCI.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said her ministry will do its best to ensure that 2023 LTdL “passes” through every state in the peninsula with a cost of RM8 million allocated by the cabinet.

“We have done our best to cover as many states as possible, so all states in Peninsular Malaysia are involved this time except for Perlis,” she said at a press conference after launching the 2023 LTdL in a ceremony at Menara KBS here today.

At the same time, Hannah expects more parties and sponsors to come together to make LTdL 2023 a success.

“I don’t have the exact amount (cost) of how much more is needed but we are working, currently Terengganu state is leading and we will work with the budget we have,” she said.

In the meantime, Hannah said the organisation of LTdL 2023 does not clash with the date of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games cycling event which is scheduled to take place from September 23 to October 8, thus there is no issue with the lack of international response to LTdL.

Meanwhile, NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said past experience was the best gauge for the NSC to once again operate LTdL.

“We were organisers from 2012 to 2014, so we have quite experienced staff around to help and on the technical side, we have MNCF who always provided technical support for the event. The trust from the government, especially KBS, gives NSC great confidence to be the best organiser as we can,” he said.

When asked about the absence of a Langkawi finish on the race map this time, Ahmad Shapawi said the decision was due to additional costs which were relatively high, including from the logistics aspect and the cumbersome route factor.

So far, seven Pro teams (UCI ProTeam), 11 continental teams (UCI Continental) and one Malaysian national team have confirmed participation in 2023 LTdL while the organisers are finalising three world teams (UCI WorldTeam) who are currently competing in Le Tour de France.

LTdL 2023 will start with Stage 1 from Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu for a distance of 184.4km; Stage 2 Kuala Terengganu to Kota Bharu (186.2km); Stage 3 Jeli to Baling (177.1km); Stage 4 Bukit Mertajam to Meru Raya (140km); Stage 5 Slim River to Genting Highlands (133.3km); Stage 6 Karak to Melaka (176.6km); Stage 7 Muar to Seremban 2 (125.7km) and Stage 8 Setia Alam to Kuala Lumpur for a distance of 157km.

– Bernama, The Sun Daily