Dec 24, 2007

Major Changes To Le Tour de Langkawi 2008

There will be one stage fewer and major changes to the route for next year's Tour of Langkawi which kicks off on Feb 9 in Alor Star.

Next year's Tour will have only nine stages and the usual final stage at the Kuala Lumpur Criterium has been cancelled. It will be replaced by a new route from Seremban to Dataran Merdeka covering a gruelling 153km.

And to provide more excitement in the battle for the King of Mountain category the Genting Hill climb covering 118km has been brought forward to Stage Two instead of the usual penultimate stage.

The Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said unveiled the new route at her ministry here yesterday.

Johor will have a major part in the Tour as three of the stages will be held there.

Stage One of the tour, which starts in Alor Star, will cover 130km and end in Kulim. Next comes the Genting stage followed by the longest stage, which will cover 195km. This will start at Lanchang, Pahang and will end in Cukai, Terengganu. It will then move to Johor, Malacca and Seremban before ending in Kuala Lumpur.

The Tour's chief operating officer Datuk Naim Mohamed said that there would be a carnival-like atmosphere at all the starting and finishing points.

“One of the major difference in the forthcoming Tour is that we want to take it closer to the people. We will organise more events for them to participate in.

“And to generate interest in the sport we will also organise cycling clinics at each stage,” said Naim.

New Route Layout For Le Tour de Langkawi 2008

IN meeting with tourism values, the sporting sense in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2008 has been challenged with the unveiling of an unprecedented route layout.

The highlight of the annual Tour, the Genting climb, comes on the second stage of next year's edition on Feb 9-17, prompting questions from critics as it is the only significant mountain stage on offer in the shortened race.

Never in the 13-year history of the Tour has the Genting climb come so early and for the first time as well, the traditional final stage, the Kuala Lumpur Criterium has been excluded.
Instead, the nine-stage Tour ends on Feb 17 with a gruelling 153.8km ride through dangerous hilly routes in Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan in an attempt by the organisers to inflict some change to the general classification on the final day.

The Cameron Highlands mountain stage has also been excluded this time around, providing for a predominantly flat race, with bunch sprint finishes anticipated in all but one stage.
The general classification for the overall title, is likely to be won by the rider who wins the Genting stage.

A bland race is thus expected as the team holding the yellow jersey having an easy task to control the race by its throat from then on over flat stages, which strengthens the belief that it will be bunch sprint finishes all the way.

On the back of Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said's insistence that the next edition of the race will be closely scrutinised in meeting with a key performance index (KPI) set by the Government, the organising committee seems pressured.

"As I've said before, this race will be closely monitored and it must meet the Government's requirements if we are to continue pumping in money to host the race," said Azalina.
LTdL chief operating officer Datuk Naim Mohamad said the committee had no choice but to meet certain criteria in order to satisfy sponsors.

Still it can be an interesting race, with the climbers having a go first. A different type of rider might win the overall as they have time to make up ground in the stages remaining after Genting," said Naim.

The route - Stage One (Feb 9): 132.4km from Alor Star to Kulim; Stage Two (Feb 10): 125.4km from Tapah to Genting Highlands; Stage Three (Feb 11): 195km from Lanchang to Cukai; Stage Four (Feb 12): 128km from Kuantan to Kuala Rompin; Stage Five (Feb 13): 185.7km from Kuala Rompin to Bandar Penawar; Stage Six (Feb 14): 183.2km from Bandar Penawar to Johor Baru; Stage Seven (Feb 15): 128km from Johor Baru to Batu Pahat; Stage Eight (Feb 16): 150km from Malacca to Seremban; Stage Nine (Feb 17): 153.8km from Seremban to Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur.

Race Facts :-

DATES : February 9-17, 2008
SANCTION : Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)
UCI RATING : UCI Hors Category
DURATION : 9 days
STATES : 8 (Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur)
NEW HOST VENUES : Lanchang, Bandar Penawar, Batu Pahat
NO OF TEAMS : 25 teams (5 Pro Tour and 10 teams from Asia)
RACE DISTANCE : 1,381.5 kilometres
TRANSFERS : 220km (to start)207km (to hotels)
LONGEST STAGE : Stage 3 (Lanchang to Cukai) 195 kilometres
SHORTEST STAGE : Stage 2 (Tapah to Genting) 125.4 kilometres

Race Schedule :-

Stage 1
Alor Setar - Kulim
Saturday - 9th February 2008
132.4 kms
Detail >

Stage 2
Tapah - Genting Highlands
Sunday - 10th February 2008
125.4 kms
Detail >

Stage 3
Lanchang - Cukai
Monday - 11th February 2008
195.0 kms
Detail >

Stage 4
Kuantan - Kuala Rompin
Tuesday - 12th February 2008
128.0 kms
Detail >

Stage 5
Kuala Rompin- Bandar Penawar
Wednesday - 13th February 2008
185.7 kms
Detail >

Stage 6
Bandar Penawar - Johor Bharu
Thursday - 14th February 2008
183.2 kms
Detail >

Stage 7
Johor Bharu - Batu Pahat
Friday - 15th February 2008
128.0 kms
Detail >

Stage 8
Melaka - Seremban
Saturday - 16th February 2008
150.0 kms
Detail >

Stage 9
Seremban - Dataran Merdeka
Sunday - 17th February 2008
153.8 kms
Detail >

Source : Le Tour de Langkawi 2008

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