KUALA LUMPUR – The Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2015 which ended yesterday gave the embattled Malaysian cycling fraternity a ray of hope after two riders finished on the podium at two stages.
The Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) that was embroiled in controversy over funds allocated for the development of the sport, especially road racing, should take off from the platform where local riders had stepped on in the Tour.
The success of the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) need to be exemplary for the development of the sport and the MNCF must take a page from the success story of the TSG.
Riders Anuar Manan and Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman whop finished on the podium in the first and fifth stage deserve credit for their momentous effort, never mind the fact that they did not win the stage.
Anuar who had won Stage five during the 2010 edition, finished third in the opening stage of the LTdL 2015 held within Langkawi over a distance of 99.2km while Mohd Adiq Husainie finished third in the longest stage of the LTdL from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan, Pahang, a distance of 200km.
The positive results also earned praise from Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who felt local riders were able to compete with some of the best riders in the world.
“The performance of our riders was not bad. The fact that they had finished on the podium more than once is a good indication and development. I feel it was a big improvement from the past years,” Khairy had said yesterday.
The LTdL which ended at Dataran Merdeka yesterday, Algerian rider Youcef Reguigui from MTN-Qhubeka clinched the coveted Yellow jersey as the overall champion on his maiden appearance here.
The 25-year old rider who wrested the jersey from Aussie rider Caleb Ewan of Orica GreenEdge after stage seven yesterday, was declared the winner after clocking a total of 28 hours 12 minutes and 04 seconds and become only the third African rider to claim the Yellow jersey as overall winner in the LTdL.
Italian rider, Andrea Guardini of Astana Pro Team on the other hand set a new record of 18 stage victories, including four stages victories — Langkawi (stage one); Alor Setar-Sungai Petani (stage two), Kota Baharu-Kuala Berang (stage four) and Kuala Kubu Baru to Dataran Merdeka (Stage 8).
The Pegasus Continental Cycling Team of Indonesia’s ability to emerge as Best Asian team and overall winner of the LTdL against a number of pro and continental teams like Orica GreenEdge, UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling, MTN-Qhubeka and Astana Pro Team also brought a breath of fresh air to the LTdL and cycling success in the region.
It must be said that in terms of organising, Human Voyage Sdn Bhd who were given the task to organise the prestigious event on a reduced budget (RM10 million compared with RM19 million in 2014), did an excellent job.
Human Voyage chief executive officer Datuk Malik Mydin said though they cannot regard themselves as the best organisers, they would not rest on their laurels to improve the event by inviting some of the best pro teams in the world.
“This year the LTdL clashed with some big races in Europe and other parts of the world, including the ongoing Tour Paris-Nice. We will discuss details for the next edition to improve on weaknesses if any,” he said. – BERNAMA