PUTRAJAYA: The new organisers of Le Tour de Langkawi (LtdL) will have only three months to get the 20th edition of the race on the road from March 8-15 next year.
The race has been handed over from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to Human Voyage Sdn Bhd under the helm of Datuk Malik Mydin, who “just finished assembling the team to prepare for the race”.
Malik, the chief executive officer of Human Voyage, said the race is 50% ready.
He is confident he’ll have the event up and running by March.
“It will be an eight-stage race compared to 10 previously ... and we will start in Langkawi, the spiritual home of the race. We expect to finish in Kuala Lumpur on March 15,” he said at the launch of the new logo on Thursday.
Also present were race patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Human Voyage, also known for organising the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC), got the deal to run the race for two years – with a RM10mil grant from the ministry for the first year.
Malik said they are still looking for sponsors to top up their coffers.
In the past, it cost between RM15mil and RM20mil to run the race
Getting a private company to run the race is not new.
It was run by First Cartel Sdn Bhd from its inception in 1996 to 2006. But the company was wound up by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in 2007 after massive debts and unpaid dues, including prize money.
The Youth and Sports Ministry, under Datuk Seri Azalina Othman stepped in to save the race from vanishing in 2007 and initially handed its organisation to the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
Since 2009, its organisation became a joint-effort between the National Sports Council (NSC), who are under the ministry’s purview, and MNCF.
There are just three months to go before March and the organisers are racing against the clock as they have yet to finalise the race route.
“We can’t announce the route yet because we have to iron out a few technical issues. We expect to announce it by early December. Time is not on our side ... but we will deliver,” pledged Malik.
Khairy reiterated that the move by his ministry to award the organisation of the race to a private company was to relinquish the ministry’s role as event organisers in the future.
“We will continue to support the organisers through grants, but we won’t be forking out too much money to organise it like before,” said Khairy.