KUALA LUMPUR: BMW Group Malaysia and Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) today announced the appointment of the premium automaker as the Official Automotive Partner of the Le Tour de Langkawi Malaysia competition for the year 2017.
Speaking at the official announcement ceremony, LTdL Chief Executive Officer Emir Abdul Jalal said, “The Le Tour de Langkawi competition is the highest ranked stage race on the Asia Tour calendar with a UCI 2.HC status much like the competitions held in China and Japan – the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the Tour of Hainan as well as the Japan Cup. Our event remains Asia’s premier cycling stage race because we support Asian cycling more than any organizer does at this level of competition.”
Emir added that the most prestigious cycling stage race in the country was pleased to have BMW Group Malaysia as the Official Automotive Partner for the competition in 2017 and hoped that the new partnership would the best push for the competition this year.
Echoing Emir, Sashi Ambi, Head of Corporate Communications, BMW Group Malaysia said, “Le Tour de Langkawi 2017 is our first ever presence in the sport of cycling at the highest level in the region and we at BMW Group Malaysia are very excited with the opportunity. We are also pleased to be the White Jersey Sponsor for the competition as the White Jersey is the award for the Best Asian Rider which signifies the discovery of local or regional talent and heroes in the sport.”
Ambi added that BMW Group Malaysia views identifying, developing and supporting emerging talent a premium expression but more than this, to be able to be part of the success of these talents and to share these successes with fellow Malaysians across the country for inspiration and future talent creation is an important direction the premium automaker wants to pursue.
In saying this, Ambi was referring to Terengganu born rider Muhamad Adiq Hussainie Othman who became the first Malaysian to ever receive the award of Best Asian Rider since its inception at the third edition of LTdL in 1998. At only the age of 26, the competition in 2017 will be Adiq’s eighth consecutive participation in the prestigious cycling stage race. This time around, however, he is turning up as the defending champion in the Best Asian Rider Category, the winner of the White Jersey last year.
“Adiq’s courageous defense of the white jersey with the backing of his team TSG has been one of the highlights of last year’s race.” said LTdL Chief Executive Officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “Many Malaysians have been touched and inspired by his performance. Throughout this special classification, we’re delighted to show that Malaysians can successfully compete against the best riders of the continent.”
Emir added that cycling is predominantly a European sport and with all the participation requests received from Europe, America and Oceania, one might think that Asian teams would be left out but that’s out of question. He said, “Officials at the international cycling union (UCI) keep saying that cycling is growing faster in Asia than anywhere else in the world and we are proud to be part of this movement which is why we give priority to the Asian teams when it comes to selection at continental level.”
At the 2017 Le Tour de Langkawi, asian riders will get a chance to challenge WorldTour giants and Grand Tours cyclists from the Pro Continental ranks from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and of course Malaysia. Another first for the competition, Thailand has registered a continental team, Thailand Continental Cycling Team which includes popular Malaysian LTdL rider Loh Sea Keong who has been in the competition ten times and is the only Malaysian to have raced with a WorldTour team with Giant-Shimano in 2014.
New teams to lookout for at the competition this year include Keyi Look Cycling Team from China, the Singapore-registered Infinite AIS, Malaysia’s Sapura Cycling Team and KFC of Indonesia.