LTdL organisers Human Voyage announced yesterday that they would hold two extra events – a criterium (multiple-lap race around a closed circuit) and a classic (one-day race) – in addition to its eight-stage main race.
Human Voyage chief executive Datuk Ahmad Mustafa said they had initially planned to expand the race from eight to 10 stages but it was not possible under the newly-restructured UCI ProSeries, the new mid-tier series which will replace the .HC class starting January.
“UCI (International Cycling Union) have limited the ProSeries tournaments to a maximum of eight stages. But as the LTdL is celebrating its 25th anniversary, we’ve been given the nod to hold the criterium and the classic before and after the main race,” Ahmad told a press conference here yesterday.
“We plan to start the ball rolling with the criterium in Kota Kinabalu and end the LTdL with a one-day race in Langkawi.”
Ahmad said the criterium would be made up of mostly of Under-23 riders as part of the LTdL’s development initiative.
The classic, on the other hand, will see a battle of top riders from the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are opening up the criterium to young riders to give them an opportunity to race alongside professional cyclists. That’s because some of the LTdL competitors will also ride in the events to warm up,” said Ahmad.
“As for the classic, we plan to invite national champions from around the Asia-Pacific region.
“Hopefully this will be a beginning. We are keen to make the two one-day races a permanent fixture from next year.
“There are not many one-day races in this region.”
Meanwhile, the organisers have also submitted a new application to UCI through Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) to change the race dates.
The LTdL is slated for March 15-22 but the new slot in the 54-race calendar is planned from Feb 7-14 instead.
The organisers are determined to prevent a repeat of this year’s edition where it failed to attract a single top-flight UCI World Tour outfits in April.
“We have applied for these dates in February instead of March as they are just after the Tour Down Under (Jan 21-26) and Cadel Evans Road Race (Jan 30-Feb 2) in Australia and before the European classics season begins,” explained Ahmad. Last year, the dates clashed with other bigger races.
“We are hoping to bring in no less than six World Tour teams.”
Ahmad said the race would no less than RM20mil with a big chunk of expenses set to go towards logistics, especially with the race returning to Sabah and Sarawak for the first time since 1997.
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