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Wednesday January 23, 2008
By ERIC SAMUEL
PETALING JAYA: The penultimate leg of the nine-stage Tour of Langkawi (LTdL) cycling championships from Maran to Genting Highlands has been replaced with a route from Temerloh to Fraser’s Hill.
The chief operating officer of the Tour, Datuk Naim Mohamad, said the decision to replace the Genting stage was made in the best interest of the safety of the cyclists and members of the public.
“It is with a heavy heart that we came to the conclusion not to have the Genting stage. But one cannot put the safety of the riders at risk,” he said yesterday.
Naim added that for the first time in the series, the 13th edition of the Tour will have a new route for the King of the Mountain stage.
“Due to the Chinese New Year festivities during the first half of February, more than 150,000 holidaymakers are expected to converge in Genting Highlands,” he said.
“This is one of the busiest periods in Genting and the management have informed us that it would be difficult to totally close the roads all the way to the peak as done in previous races.
“They proposed finishing the stage in Gohtong Jaya but the organising committee felt that with such a high volume of traffic to the resort, it could lead to massive jams and worse still safety issues.”
Although the stage is not ending in Genting, the prestigious King of the Mountain jersey and award will continue to be sponsored by Resorts World.
Naim added that the technical team had surveyed the new route and the 127km race from Temerloh to Fraser’s Hill would be more challenging than the previous one.
“It is a direct ascent for the riders, all the way up. It is unlike the Genting stage where there are uphills and downhills,” said Naim.
A record 25 teams, including professional tour, professional continental, continental and Asian sides, will participate in this year’s Tour from Feb 9-17.
Feb 9: Alor Star -Kepala Batas (182.6km).
Feb 10: Butterworth-Sitiawan (159.7km).
Feb 11: Sitiawan-Banting (209.4km).
Feb 12: Port Dickson-Batu Pahat (169km).
Feb 13: Johor Baru-Bandar Penawar (139.9km).
Feb 14: Bandar Penawar-Kuala Rompin (182.8km).
Feb 15: Kuala Rompin-Kuantan (126.6km).
Feb 16: Temerloh-Fraser’s Hill (127km).
Feb 17: Kuala Lumpur criterium (80.4km).
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