Issues relating to thousands of dollars' worth of unpaid prize money caused a serious stir before this year's edition of the Tour de Langkawi. However, reports in the Malaysian media are now rife with further damaging news on one of Asia's most prestigious races.
Estimates now place the debts of organisers First Cartel at over one million US dollars. The situation has prompted the UCI to issue an ultimatum, asking for all debts to be paid by September 1, 2006, or be removed from next year's calendar. Anthony Tan reports.
Earlier this year, the UCI sent a letter to the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), demanding all debts owing from previous editions of the Le Tour de Langkawi to be settled by September 1, 2006. If they failed to satisfy that demand, a sanction on hosting any future international cycling events would be applied.
While it was the privately owned company, First Cartel Sdn Berhad, directly accountable for these monies owing - estimated to be in the range of 4-7 million Malaysian Ringgit (US$1,09-1,90 million) - the MNCF, and ultimately anyone else involved with the race, would bear the brunt of non-payment.
"We must follow our regulations, and our regulations state that races cannot continue if they continue to mount debts," UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews in a phone interview on August 14.