Le Tour de Langkawi is the most prestigious cycling sports event in all of Asia. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) considers Le Tour de Langkawi as a major stop in its Asia Tour. The 2011 race marks the 16th year of the Tour's continuing success, having been upgraded to a UCI Hors Category event.
Le Tour de Langkawi brings together the best teams from the Pro Tour ranks and national teams from Asia and Europe. 17 international teams and three Malaysian teams are expected to compete at this year's event, which will last from January 23 to February 1.
Tour de Langkawi's Winding Route
The race is named after the starting point of the race, Langkawi in Kedah State. The exact route varies every year. In 2011, the route begins at Langkawi Island and proceeds as follows, covering ten stages over a distance of 813 miles:
- January 23 - Stage 1: Langkawi
- January 24 - Stage 2: Kangar-Butterworth
- January 25 - Stage 3: Taiping-Sitiawan
- January 26 - Stage 4: Lumut-Cameron Highlands
- January 27 - Stage 5: Tapah-Genting Highlands
- January 28 - Stage 6: Rawang-Putrajaya
- January 29 - Stage 7: Banting-Tampin
- January 30 - Stage 8: Kuala Pilah-Melaka
- January 31 - Stage 9: Melaka-Nilai
- February 1 - Stage 10: Shah Alam-Kuala Lumpur
The race is famous for its demanding terrain. Stage five is particularly challenging, involving a near- constant uphill climb to the gaming paradise of Genting Highlands.
Still, competitors in Le Tour de Langkawi will be grateful for having peninsular Malaysia as their backdrop; the route crosses some of the most scenic spots in the country, from the rugged slopes leading to Genting Highlands to the modern finishing line at Kuala Lumpur.
Where to Go, Where to Stay
Le Tour de Langkawi is a sports tourism highlight in Malaysia - it just won't do to miss it if you're serious about sports! The best place to catch the action is in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where the competitors cross the finish line. KL can be reached by most major airlines.
Accommodations are quite easy to score in KL - there are hotels available to match almost any budget. Make sure you reserve early to beat the racing rush.