PETALING JAYA: The 23rd edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) is ready to unleash the next generation of cycling stars when it flags off Stage 1 from Kangar to Kulim today.
Names like Alessandro Petacchi, Floyd Landis, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Antonio Cruz, Fred Rodriguez, Rigoberto Uran, Rinaldo Nocentini and Tom Danielson are among those who launched their careers in LTdL before moving on to bigger things on the world stage. Moreover, LTdL in its early years often saw the participation of big name riders who were present to provide guidance to the younger riders signed by their WorldTour teams.
In fact, in 2006, one of the world’s top sprinters now, Mark Cavendish (pic) made his debut as an elite rider in LTdL, riding as a 20-year old for the British national team.
So it’s not surprising that despite the emergence of many new international races across Asia, LTdL remains relevant topic discussed among riders who have competed in the 23-year-old race.
It was always ideal that LTdL, traditionally held as an early season race on the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar, played its part as a warm-up race for top teams before heading to the bigger races in Europe.
Apart from serving up a tough stage race format run under the scorching Malaysian heat, the conditions sometimes descend into a chaotic thunderstorm providing the challenges, giving the peloton a true test of skill to bring out their true talents.
The UCI 2.HC status race, covering an overall distance of 1,341.2km through eight states in Peninsular Malaysia, will see 22 teams competing for honours.