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21 teams to kick off 25th LTdL at Padang Merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 21 teams will set off from Kuching’s Padang Merdeka in Stage 1 of the 25th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) on Feb 7.

Teams, riders and officials started arriving in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday for the Kota Kinabalu Criterium International Race on Feb 6 held in conjunction with the silver jubilee celebration of Malaysia’s iconic cycling event.

Organisers said they have stepped up efforts to ensure all organisational aspects are in place including health safety precautions in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak.

Human Voyage chief operating officer Shahaizereen A Hamid said details on land and air transportation of the teams, officials and the whole entourage to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching had been carefully looked into to avoid any serious logistical challenges.

“All related parties including the local agencies are well aware of their responsibilities. We’ll be ready for any eventuality and we hope to provide a safe and conducive environment for riders, teams, officials and the whole entourage during the race,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Previously, LTdL was confined to routes in Peninsula Malaysia with Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi as its regular start and finish points.

Teams confirmed this year include one World Tour, five Pro Continental, 14 Continental teams and one national team (Malaysia). Two Chinese-based teams – Hengxiang and Giant Racing – have pulled out from the race due to the Wuhan virus outbreak.

A new champion will be crowned as the previous winner Benjamin Dyball (formerly of Team Sapura Cycling) will not be defending his Yellow Jersey.

He has been snapped up by South African-based outfit NTT Pro Cycling.

Three regular Italian outfits are out to prove their worth while France, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Australia will have representatives in the 2020 peloton.

The 10-day tour race from Feb 6 to 15 covers a total distance of 1,114.9 km across eight states — Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah — and the Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.

The Borneo Post, 5 February 2020

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