THE stage is all set for international women riders and teams from around the world to sizzle in Malaysia as the country committed itself to the hosting of yet another top international cycle race – Le Tour de Femina 2019 – scheduled to take place over six days in September.
Minister of Youth and Sports YB Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman today launched Le Tour de Femina 2019, marking another milestone in the country's cycling scene as the first international full-fledged women stage race categorised under UCI's Asia Tour calendar to be held on Malaysia soil.
Le Tour de Femina 2019 will be organised by Ciclista Sports Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
Categorised as a UCI-2.1(WE) event, the 6-stage race is scheduled to be held from 7 to 12 September, 2019, covering a total distance of 719.9 km.
The race is expected to draw participation from some of the world's notable women riders and teams from Europe, Oceania, America as well as Oceania and Asia.
Jitra, located some 25km from Alor Setar, earns the honour as the first host of the race, hosting the start venue for the 116.1 km-Stage 1 challenge to Kulim in Kedah.
Stage 2 (117.1km) takes riders from Permatang Pauh in Penang to Kuala Kangsar in Perak while the Stage 3 (124.2km) presents a truly challenging climb up on winding roads from Tapah to Fraser’s Hill which could decide the overall champion.
Stage 4 takes riders from Shah Alam to Melaka (132km) while the short penultimate stage from Jasin to Muar (112.3km) provide riders with some respite before wrapping up the battle with a fast race over 118.2km from Tampin to Cyberjaya.
YB Syed Saddiq, in his launching speech, congratulated Ciclista Sports Sdn Bhd for initiating the race, saying that the staging of Le Tour de Femina marked another milestone for Malaysian cycling, fans, stakeholders, followers and the Malaysian people in general.
"The move is in line with UCI's efforts to provide equal opportunities for women to compete in top notch cycling races and open more pathways for women riders to scale greater heights in the sports.
This would also help encourage the formation of more professional women cycling clubs in this part of the world.
"We're hoping that this race would also help further boost Malaysia's profile as a leading women cycling hub in the region," said YB Syed Saddiq.
Ciclista Sports Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Shahirudeen Seeni meanwhile stressed on the company's commitment in making Le Tour de Femina as one of the leading women races in the region.
"We looking forward towards the staging of this inaugural race and hope to contribute meaningfully to the rise of women cycling especially in multiple stage races in this part of the world.
"We hope to blend the race to be part of the country's sport tourism agenda. As such, we're looking into a detailed global media exposure and broadcast plans for the race to help us achieve this objective," said Shahirudden.
Currently, there are 23 elite multiple stage-races held under the UCI Women's World Tour calendar while for races under the UCI 2.1-category and below, there are 30 races sanctioned by the world cycling governing body.
LTdF 2019 RACE SCHEDULE & ROUTE:
Friday, 6 Sept: Team Presentation, Jitra, Kedah
Saturday, 7 Sept: Stage 1 - Jitra – Kulim (116.1km)
Sunday, 8 Sept: Stage 2 - Permatang Pauh – Kuala Kangsar (117.1km)
Monday, 9 Sept: Stage 3 – Tapah – Fraser’s Hill (124.2km)
Tuesday, 10 Sept: Stage 4 - Shah Alam – Alor Gajah (132km)
Wednesday, 11 Sept: Stage 5 - Jasin – Muar ( 112.3km)
Thursday, 12 Sept: Stage 6 – Tampin – Cyberjaya (118.2km)