Tough route launched for 2013 Tour de Langkawi
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tough route launched for 2013 Tour de Langkawi

by Shane Stokes at 8:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
 
Garmin-Sharp and Astana confirmed as taking part

Tour de Langkawi 2013The start is still five months away but with the 2012 season entering its final weeks, details have now been unveiled of one of the biggest early-season events in 2013.

The eighteenth edition of the Tour de Langkawi has been announced and has already secured the participation of Garmin-Sharp and Astana, plus twenty other teams which will be named at a later point.

This year, racing in the Malaysian event expands to eleven days; the general classification will run for ten days, as before, but on Wednesday February 20th the riders will compete in a prelude.

This will encompass five laps of an 8.8 kilometre circuit on Langkawi island, which will also be the location of the pre-race HQ and team presentation. While it won’t count for GC, the hour-long event will see all of the riders take part, loosening up prior to the race-start proper the following day.

The 2013 Tour de Langkawi is being billed as a harder event than previous years and climbs will feature on the early stages, which were often flat in the past. Stage one’s 163.7 kilometre race from Kangar to Kulim will include the ascent of Bukit Selambau, while later in the race there will be two tough summit finishes.

“This edition of the race will feature three hors category climbs, two at Cameron Highlands and one up Genting Highlands,” said Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which will organise the race for the third time.

“Before the Cameron Highlands climb which comes on stage three, the race heads into a tricky section on Stage Two from Serdang to Kuala Kangsar, which passes through Bukit Sumpitan, which is 800m above sea level and has a difficult gradient.”

That second stage is 116 kilometres in length, while the decisive day three race from Sungai Siput to the Cameron Highlands is 145.5 kilometres and will have a major influence on the final GC. The second crucial stage in that regard will be stage five from Proton headquarters in Shah Alam to the Genting Highlands, a ferociously steep climb which will decimate the peloton. Those two stages sandwich a flatter 168 run from Tapah to Kapar.

The second half of the race should provide more opportunities for sprinters. The rider who took a stunning six out of ten stages this year, Andrea Guardini, is set to return with his new Astana team, and will be a big threat to the other fastmen.

"Guardini provided a healthy impact for the race last year,” said Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery. “His success raised the interest of the Italian media about the race and last year we received increased coverage of the race in Italy because of that.”

Stages six to ten wind their way from the centre of the country up towards the northeast, continuing a pattern which began this year. Prior to that the race often finished in or near Kuala Lumpur, but a shift to the heartland of Malaysian cycling in Terengganu was hugely successful and is being repeated.

The race heads there via the longest stage, a 212.8 kilometre race from Mentakab to Kuantan, then has subsequent legs finishing in Dungun, Tanah Merah and Kuala Berang. The general classification will be settled on the last stage, extending 114.8 kilometres from Tasik Kenyir to Kuala Terengganu.

Once again set to be a 2.HC-ranked event, the organisers are aiming to build on the growth seen this year in the areas of spectators, internet hits, TV viewers and also sponsorship. If that happens, it will increase the chances of the race moving up to WorldTour level, a goal previously confirmed by the organisers.


Le Tour De Langkawi 2013:

Stage 1 – Thursday 21 February 2013 : Kangar – Kulim (163.7 Km)
Stage 2 – Friday 22 February 2013 : Serdang – Kuala Kangsar (116.0 Km)
Stage 3 – Saturday 23 February 2013 : Sungai Siput – Cameron Highlands (145.5 Km)
Stage 4 - Sunday 24 February 2013 : Tapah – Kapar (168.0 Km)
Stage 5 – Monday 25 February 2013 : Proton – Genting (108.0 Km)
Stage 6 – Tuesday 26 February 2013 : Mentakab – Kuantan (212.8 Km)
Stage 7 - Wednesday 27 February 2013 : Kuantan – Dungun (149.8 Km)
Stage 8 – Thursday 28 February 2013 : Kuala Terengganu – Tanah Merah (164.5 Km)
Stage 9 – Friday 1 March 2013 : Pasir Puteh – Kuala Berang (123.6 Km)
Stage 10 – Saturday 2 March 2013 : Tasik Kenyir – Kuala Terengganu (114.8 Km)

Total Distance : 1467 km

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