BUKIT JALIL: The Tour of Langkawi is one of the biggest road races outside Europe but many of the top Trade One cycling teams will not feature in the championship from Feb 6-15.
The 10-stage Tour clashes with the Doha International GP on Jan 31 and Tour of Qatar from Feb 2-6.
The executive chairman of the organisers, First Cartel Sdn Bhd, Datuk Wan Lokman Wan Ibrahim, said: “The organisers of the Qatar race are the same people who stage the Tour de France.
“The Trade One teams are heading to Qatar to enhance their chances of getting selected to compete in the Tour de France.”
The top 10 Trade One teams in the UCI world rankings qualify automatically for the prestigious Tour de France. The other six teams are given wild cards by the organisers.
“Another race is also being held in Australia in late January. We also have to compete with the Australians to get good teams to come here,” said Wan Lokman at a press conference yesterday to announce Milo's partnership as the official fortified drink for the Tour of Langkawi.
The Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under will be held from Jan 20-25.
“Another external factor affecting our Tour is the disbandment of some of the top trade teams who competed in previous years. Among them are former world champions Mapei-Quick Step and Saturn,” he said.
Mapei competed in 1999 and 2000. Saturn finished second in the team classification last year and their rider, Tom Danielson, was the individual winner.
Meanwhile, a promotional event for the Tour known as Blue Ride will be held on Jan 18. The event covering a distance of 47km is open to members of the public. It will start and end at the Menara Telekom in Kuala Lumpur.
Those interested to participate can contact First Cartel at 03-2284 4815 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ENTRIES THUS FAR
Trade One: Lampre (Ita), Mr Bookmaker.com-Collstrop Palmans (Bel), Chocolade Jacques-Wincor-Nixdorf (Bel), De Nardi Colpack (Ita).
Trade Two: Panaria Margres (Ita), Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave (Ita), Team Barloworld (Rsa), Colombia Selle Italia (Col).
Trade Three: Wismilak Cycling (Ina), Health Net (US).
National teams: Iran, Canada, Ireland, China, Japan, Malaysia.