PUTRAJAYA: Langkawi is not in the route but Terengganu, the home state that produced Anuar Manan and Harrif Saleh, will take centrestage as the east coast state hosts two stages of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Sept 23-30.

The 27th edition of the country’s premier cycling race will be handled by the National Sports Council (NSC) and will involve eight stages of racing over eight days across 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia with a total distance of 1,280km.

Anuar and Harrif, the only Malaysians to have won in LTdL history, can take pride as their home state Terengganu hosts Stage 1 (184.4km) and Stage 2 (186.2km).

“Even with only eight days of cycling this time, the LTdL 2023 route will cross 11 of the 12 states in the peninsula regardless of political beliefs and differences,” said Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh at the LTdL launch announcement yesterday.

This year’s theme of “Beat The Heat”, is a continuation of the previous themes of “The Heat Is On” and “The Heat Is Back”, and represents the stiff challenge of climbing up Genting Highlands and the scorching heat the racers have to overcome during the event.

The LTdL, which was introduced in 1996, still carries a Pro Series status and organisational costs will come to an estimated RM8mil.

Chief operating officer of LTdL 2023 Emir Abdul Jalal said the route selection for the 27th edition was chosen so that it passes through as many cities, towns and small towns as well as ensuring a high level of challenge for riders.

“We have the first two stages in Terengganu and Stage 3 after that is considered to be a very challenging new route because it involves two difficult climbs, the route from Jeli, Kelantan to Baling, Kedah, for a distance of 177.1km, which gives an early impression of who will be the challengers for the overall individual yellow jersey and the Raja Bukit (King Of the Mountains) jersey in this edition.

As many as 22 teams of six riders will take part in this tour: three UCI WorldTeams; seven ProTeams; 11 continental teams and the Malaysia national team.

Stage 1 (Sept 23) Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu (184.4km)
Stage 2 (Sept 24) Kuala Terengganu to Kota Bahru (186.2km)
Stage 3 (Sept 25) Jeli to Baling (177.1km)
Stage 4 (Sept 26) Bukit Mertajam to Meru Raya (140km)
Stage 5 (Sept 27) Slim River to Genting Highlands (133.3km)
Stage 6 (Sept 28) Karak to Melaka (176.6km)
Stage 7 (Sept 29) Muar to Seremban (125.7km)
Stage 8 (Sept 230) Setia Alam to Kuala Lumpur (157km)

– The Star