PUTRAJAYA, Oct 7 : The prestigious Asian cycling tour race, Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), will return to Sabah and Sarawak after 23 years in its 25th edition with a new racing status, Professional Series (ProSeries) introduced by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The race was last held in Sabah and Sarawak during its second edition in 1997.
With the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak, LTdL 2020 would be organised in 10 stages compared to eight in the previous edition.
Human Voyage Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Mustafa noted that there would be an increase in cost and as the organisers, they have planned it earlier with careful preparations towards organising the silver jubilee race.
He said the official launch of LTdL 2020 will be held at the end of November and in the initial stage, a series of discussions was held with the respective state governments.
According to Ahmad, the organisers’ early plan is to make Sabah as the first stage and followed by Kuching, Sarawak for the second stage before the country’s iconic race returns to Peninsular Malaysia, starting with Terengganu to host the following stage from Kuala Terengganu to Kertih.
The race then will travel from Temerloh to KLCC or Putrajaya and followed by KLCC or Putrajaya-Genting Highlands, Kuala Kubu Bharu-Ipoh, Taiping-Penang, Bagan-Alor Setar and Langkawi Island (two stages).
“All these routes are still tentative. It is in the early stages of preparation and we will hold a series of discussions with the PDRM and the state government to identify and finalise the routes. By the end of November, we should be able to announce the final routes.
“Regarding UCI requirements, we are aware of the need for at least six World Tour teams and we will probably try to get 10. In terms of cost, we are aware of the increase. But we’re in discussion with Eurosport, Fox Sports Asia and ESPN for live coverage.
“For LTdL, we are 24 years old with Hors Class (HC) status and are now upgrading to ProSeries. Let us work for the ProSeries LTdL 2020,” he told reporters after attending the LTdL 2020 Main Committee meeting at Youth and Sports Ministry today.
The UCI has decided that LTdL will be upgraded to ProSeries on its 2020 racing tour calendar.
The matter was confirmed by Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Datuk Abu Samah Abd Wahab to the media when met at the same meeting.
The LTdL race was established in 1996 and was upgraded as Hors Class (HC) cycling event in 2003.
It was demoted when UCI introduced a new cycling category, the ProSeries, to replace the HC category.
Among the reasons for the LTdL status being downgraded was because there were no professional teams as well as lacking in international news coverage.