KOTA KINABALU – SABAH’S first international cycling road race – Tour of Borneo which will start from Semporna on April 27 will receive a premier touch at the closing ceremony in Kota Kinabalu on May 1.

Tour of Borneo (ToB) Organising Chairman, Dato’ Fredie Sua confirms that Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Bin Haji Mahiruddin will grace the event with Honorary Patron, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to officiate the closing ceremony of the inaugural edition of the five-stage tour.

ToB Organising Committee presented a Special Invitation to Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah at a press conference held in the Royal Palace today.

Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Bin Haji Mahiruddin upon receiving the invitation, also confessed to being a cycling enthusiast, having officiated and assisted in district level cycling competitions during the period as Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kinabatangan.

“I am very happy to be a part of this historical event, this race will bring great improvement in the development of cycling in Sabah and I would really like to see our boys take the spot on the podium.”

“I hope that through Tour of Borneo, the people, especially fans of cycling in this country will be able to feel the excitement of a cycling tour, at the same time highlighting the uniqueness of the rich culture and our friendly hospitality to the competitors and officials from overseas who will be here for the first time in Sabah,” he added.

During the press conference, Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah also witnessed a cheque handover from Datuk Lau Chen Kiong, Chairman of Sutranah Development  Sdn Bhd from Sarawak to Tour of Borneo organizer.

Dato’ Fredie also confirmed that all parties involved have pledged their commitment and it is all systems go for the inaugural race. “To ensure the success of the first edition of Tour of Borneo, all government agencies at state and district level have agreed to fully commit to ensure the smooth running of the race and also hype up all the host venues especially at the start and finish locations.”

“20 professional teams consisting of continental, national and club teams from all over Asia, including Malaysia, Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand have confirmed their participation and will be accompanied by over 520 race officials,” Dato’ Fredie added.

Tun Dr Mahathir as the race’s Honorary Patron is also seen as the highest level of recognition for Tour of Borneo as the former Prime Minister was the man who inspired Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 17 years ago, the tour has now been recognised as one of the most popular race in the world and Asia and successfully introduced Langkawi Island and Malaysia to the world.

The 2.2 category Tour is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and is listed in UCI Asian Tour calendar, it is hoped to promote Sabah as the ultimate sports tourism destination in Malaysia, and promote cycling in the state.

Tour of Borneo covers a total distance of 758.4 kilometer, will start from Semporna and will pass through pictureque locations of Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Sepilok, Kundasang and ends in Kota Kinabalu.
Stage 4, the longest stage covering 214.8 kilometers from Sepilok to Kundasang, , is considered the most challenging due to the level of difficulty of the ascent through panoramic views of the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, it will become a household name among the riders who compete in the race, and could be labeled as the race’s ‘queen stage’ – like the climb to Genting Highlands for Le Tour de Langkawi.

In addition to a challenging route, Tour of Borneo will also held at a time of various festivals held in Sabah such as Regatta Lepa Lepa, Sabah Fest and Borneo International Marathon, providing an opportunity for fans from within and outside the country to experience the joy of a holiday in the state.

Tour of Borneo will be monitored by UCI President Commissaire from New Zealand, Zac Prendergast. The organizer’s main objective is to promote interest in cycling among the younger generations in Sabah, and expose Malaysian riders to more international level competition, thus contributing to the development of cycling in Malaysia.

The 20 teams confirmed for Tour of Borneo 2012 :

  1.          Team Genesys Wealth Advisers (AUS) – Continental Team
  2.          OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team (SIN) – Continental Team
  3.          Tabriz Petrochemical Team (IRI) – Continental Team
  4.          Suren Uzbekistan Team (UZB) – Continental Team
  5.          CCN Cycling Team (BRU) – Continental Team
  6.          Terengganu Cycling Team (MAS) – Continental Team
  7.          Kazakhstan Cycling Federation (KAZ) – National
  8.          Brunei Darussalam National Team (BRU) – National
  9.          Malaysian National Team – National
  10.        Pure Black Racing Team (NZL) – Club
  11.        Team Plan B (AUS) – Club
  12.        Polygon Sweet Nice (INA) – Club
  13.        Putra Perjuangan (INA) – Club
  14.        7 Eleven By Roadbike Philippines (PHI) – Club
  15.        Malaysian Armed Forces – Club
  16.        Kuala Lumpur – State
  17.        Negeri Sembilan – State
  18.        Pahang – State
  19.        Selangor – State
  20.        Sabah – State