KUALA LUMPUR: The 2003 Le Tour de Langkawi bicycle race has been so successful that many international competitors have made the race an important event in their sporting career, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
The Prime Minister said that despite having to face the hot tropical climate, the athletes, many of whom were foreigners, were willing to take part in the race.
“It’s a bit odd, but people from temperate climate can stand the heat better that those from the tropics,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech after presenting the prizes to overall winners of the race at Dataran Merdeka yesterday.
The participants took one hour and 49 minutes to complete 12 laps in the 75.6km route.
Dr Mahathir also thanked the organisers and sponsors for helping to make the event a huge success.
In an interview with the ESPN sports television channel, the Prime Minister said that the publicity gathered from the race had helped to show the world that Malaysia was a peaceful place to stay and visit.
Dr Mahathir and other guests joined the public to cheer the racers who took part in the 10th and final stage of the race here.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein told reporters later that he hoped cycling associations would seek out more new talents to ensure that Malaysia had more able cyclists.