ASIA’s biggest cycling race, the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) is set to pedal into the new decade next year with an exciting action-packed edition.
It will be a new milestone for the 2020 LTdL, to be held on Feb 7-14, as the race celebrates its silver jubilee.
With the Tokyo Olympics looming, LTdL 2020 is expected to draw significant attention from World Tour and Pro Continental outfits as well as riders from national teams.
Under UCI’s new race structure, only 30 Hors Classe or Class 1 races around the world are selected to be in the UCI ProSeries, just a notch below the World Tour Series (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta Espana).
The eight-stage Silver Jubilee edition will cover a total distance of 1,095.7km across Sarawak, Sabah, Terengganu, Pahang, Federal Territories (Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur) Selangor, Perak , Penang and Kedah.
For the first time since 1997, LTdL will be racing in East Malaysia next year. It will also feature two new supporting races — the Criterium International on Feb 6 in Kota Kinabalu and a one-day race dubbed the Malaysian Classics in Langkawi on Feb 15.
The race has come a long way since the first edition back in 1996, growing from a small race intended to promote Langkawi Island to one of the most iconic tours in Asia.
LTdL is the brainchild of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and he is pleased with the growth of the race and the benefits it has brought to Malaysia.
“It is not only Langkawi that has been placed on the world map as a primary holiday destination due to LTdL, many other districts in Malaysia have benefited too,” said Dr Mahathir, who officiated the launch of the race at Petronas Plaza last night.
“LTdL has touched the hearts of many Malaysians and its return to Sabah and Sarawak (next year) will definitely add to the sense of uniqueness and adventure offered throughout the race.”
Dr Mahathir commended title sponsor PETRONAS for its strong support of the UCI ProSeries race.
PETRONAS, which is usually associated with both two- and four-wheeled motorsports, signed a three-year deal with the race this year.
This year’s race was flagged off from the Twin Towers where the petroleum giant is based.
“For the first time ever, we saw the iconic PETRONAS Twin Towers as the background for the grand depart of LTdL 2019,” added Dr Mahathir.
“Thank you to all sponsors for your generosity, we hope the same cooperation will be extended to LTdL in the future.”
Human Voyage chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Mustafa said the race has become a stepping stone for many talented riders over the years. Human Voyage is the race organiser.
“A lot of promising riders have raced in LTdL and then been snapped up by bigger teams. One example is Benjamin Dyball (Australia) who won (overall title) this year. He has now been signed up by a world tour team,” said Ahmad.
“Apart from the intense competition among teams and riders, we intend to spread the excitement and share the celebration of this jubilee edition all around the country, from Sabah right up to Langkawi. LTdL 2020 will be much more than just an international sporting and cycling event.”
Dyball, who rode for Team Sapura Cycling at LTdL this year, has joined World Tour team NTT Pro Cycling for the 2020 season.