SHAH ALAM: The Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) will proceed as scheduled despite current sponsorship shortfall.
With less than three weeks to go, the Tour’s chief executive officer Emir Abdul Jalal revealed they are still short of about RM225,000 needed to organise the Feb 24-March 2 race.
“Our budget is RM15.5mil with the Government backing us with an RM11mil grant. We’re still short of 5% of the total funds, but it’s not a problem,” said Emir after unveiling Vittoria Asia Pacific Limited, a bicycle tyre manufacturer, as one of the sponsors of the Tour.
“We will make do with what we have. It’s a matter of doing some adjustments. We are also in talks with several more sponsors and hope to wrap up the deals soon,” he added.
In the past, it cost between RM15mil and RM20mil to run the race. Last year’s organisers, Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, backed out from running the event due to financial constraints.
Running a cycling race is a big challenge in Malaysia. First Cartel Sdn Bhd ran the race since its inception in 1996 to 2006.
The company was wound up in 2007 by the Kuala Lumpur High Courts after massive debts including unpaid prize money.
Last year, organisers for Jelajah Malaysia, a much smaller event, found themselves in hot water after a sponsor withdrew at the 11th hour.
The race was almost cancelled at the end of the second stage. The cost of running the race was just about RM1.5mil.
Emir pointed out that the current economic climate made things tougher for them to raise funds.
“The weakened ringgit and GST (Goods and Service Tax) have also hit us hard this year. We have to fork out RM1mil more because of the predicament.
“The prize money, for instance, will cost us an extra RM260,000. The total last year was RM700,000, but it has gone up to RM960,000 this year. The appearance fees for the top Pro Tour teams are also being paid in US dollars.
“And whatever we are paying to our contractors this year will cost 6% more than last year because of GST,” he added.
A total of 22 teams, including three World Tour outfits – Astana, Tinkoff and Team Dimension Data , have confirmed their participation. Terengganu Cycling Team will lead Malaysia’s challenge in the eight-stage Tour.
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