PETALING JAYA: The actions of several teams changing their rider lists have certainly left the organisers of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Sept 23-30 with an organisational headache.

But chief operating officer of LTdL Emir Abdul Jalal said the matter is considered normal and teams are only required to register the riders’ names at the team managers’ meeting, which is usually held the day before the race starts or 72 hours before their flight tickets are booked.

Despite having given an initial list of the names of their riders, reserve riders, managers, mechanics and medical officers, he said some teams were seen making changes several times after that, especially on the list of six riders who will ride.

The situation should continue to happen during these two to three weeks, thus triggering various signs of who and which team can be placed as the preferred candidates for the four-jersey competition of the 27th edition of LTdL.

“This is actually a common thing, especially for the big teams in WorldTeam and ProTeam because they will assess the strength level of their own riders, look at the shape of the route profile and compare with the strength of the riders of other teams.

“They also need to meet the team’s own goals, whether it’s hunting individual and team jerseys, dominating the final sprint competition at the level of the downhill course or conquering the hilly course, in addition to inserting the name of a good Under-23 rider for the young rider competition category.

“These are all factors that every top team always take into account before deciding on their final list of riders.

“This is the situation that the LTdL 2023 secretariat is currently facing but we consider it a normal thing because we have been through it many times before.

“In fact, last-minute changes like these are also faced by other big race organisers around the world,” he said in a media statement.

Emir said among the teams that amended the list of riders that will be brought to LTdL are Astana Qazaqstan, EF Education-EasyPost, Team Corratec-Selle Italia, Tudor Pro Cycling Team and Euskaltel-Euskadi.

“From the change of riders’ names, we can see their target priorities for this LTdL such as Astana who put two sprint experts, EF Education and Euskaltel who focus on the climbing route,” he added.

After completing the list of 22 competing teams with the entry of the last two teams – Bolton Equities Black Spoke Team (ProTeam) from New Zealand and Thailand Continental Cycling Team (Continental) last week – the organisers are now in the final preparations to bring each team to Kuala Terengganu, ahead of the team introduction ceremony which will be held a day before the Kerteh-Kuala Terengganu Stage 1 competition.

Three ProTeam teams – Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane; Team Corratec and Bolton Equities and KSPO Professional from South Korea – are also scheduled to arrive five days early and are willing to pay for their own accommodation in Kuala Terengganu before entering the official hotel in order to adapt to the local weather.

– The Star