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Tour to put Sabah on cycling
Published on: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: A total of 120 cyclists comprising 20 teams including a Sabah team have confirmed to compete in Sabah's first international cycling road race, the Tour of Borneo 2012 to commence from April 27 to May 1.Tour of Borneo (ToB) organising chairman, Dato' Fredie Sua said the inaugural race in Sabah will feature cyclists from Malaysia and more than 10 countries are participating in the race.

He said a total of six professional teams from Malaysia are participating while the remaining teams come from continental, national and club teams from all over Asia, Europe, United States of America, New Zealand, Australia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Philippine, and Brunei Darussalam, among others, and will be accompanied by over 520 race officials.

The championship is rated 2.2 by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and listed on UCI's Asian Tour calendar.

Fredie said this international race has fulfilled all vital requirements and it is at par with the 'Jelajah Malaysia' Cycling and the annual Le Tour De Langkawi.

"The Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman will do the flag-off on April 27 to begin the race at Semporna.

And the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin together with the race's Honorary Patron, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will grace the closing ceremony to receive the final winner here on May 1.

"ToB is a five-stage race that covers a total distance of 758.4 kilometres starting at Semporna and passing through picturesque locations of Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Sepilok, Kundasang and ends in the State Capital here," he said.

Fredie said this to reporters after paying a courtesy call to the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahirudin at the Istana Negeri here on Wednesday.

He also presented a special invitation to the Head of State to grace the closing ceremony of the event with Dr. Mahathir early next month.

Juhar also witnessed a handing over of a mock cheque of RM100,000 from a Sarawak-based company, Sutranah Development Sdn Bhd Chairman Datuk Lau Chen Kiong to Fredie as the ToB's organiser.

Fredie said the race will introduce a new challenge featuring the most gruelling and longest ride from Sepilok to Kundasang for a total distance of 215km for the fourth stage.

"Basically the Le Tour De Langkawi has featured its longest challenge of 190km, so far, and the highest peak was going up the Genting Highlands in Kuala Lumpur.

"Our ToB 2012 race includes a tough challenge from Sepilok in Sandakan to Kundasang, Ranau where most of the road condition is going uphill to the foot of Mount Kinabalu. This is the new challenge that we are introducing to the riders in this edition," he said.

On cash prizes, Fredie said the ToB offers total prizes of RM110,000 for the five-stage race with cash prizes to riders who place number 1 to 20th placing.

Apart from the cash prizes, a winner will be declared in each stage and the stage champion will be given a colour jersey to be worn. He cited the champion will be given the Sabah State Government logo, a green jersey under Berjaya Group, and blue jersey under State Youth and Sport Ministry, among others.

He hopes this inaugural cycling race in Sabah will be part of the State's annual calendar for sport and tourism like the Borneo Marathon and International Climbathon.

"We hope that this sport event will promote the State's tourism industry to the outside world and to let them know that Borneo has roads as well as capable of organising a challenging cycling competition at international level, here.

"Other objectives include to promote interest in cycling among the younger generations in Sabah and expose Malaysian riders to more international level of competition, thus contributing to the development of cycling in Malaysia."

Earlier, the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin said he is very happy to be a part of the historical event as the race will bring great improvement in the development of cycling in the State.

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



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