Record 35 nations compete in Langkawi

The Tour de Langkawi will host the most internationally-diverse peloton ever in its 14th edition,...

The Tour de Langkawi will host the most internationally-diverse peloton ever in its 14th edition, February 9 to 15. There are 35 different nations represented in the 20 teams that will start the stage race.

"Our team invitation committee has looked closely at all the applications we received for making our colourful event the most international possible," said the chief operating officer, Datuk Naim Mohamad.

The race will feature teams that range from Continental to ProTour level. The 2008 edition was won by a Moldavian Ruslan Ivanov of Venezuelan team Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli.

"We are very pleased to welcome cyclists from all over the world. It shows that our sport becomes more and more worldwide thanks to the efforts of the UCI [International Cycling Union - ed.]. Malaysia definitely wants to play its part in the globalisation of cycling."

Besides 15 riders from host country Malaysia, Italy will feature a contingent of 11 riders, followed by Australia (9), France (8), South Africa, Kazakhstan, Iran, China and Korea (6), Spain, Switzerland and Japan (5), Ukraine (3), USA, Germany, Austria, Venezuela, Tunisia, Algeria and Indonesia (2), Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Great Britain, Moldavia, Colombia, Argentina, Mongolia, Syria and Qatar (1).

The 2009 race will feature seven stages, including the return of the climb of Genting Highlands on the second to last day. The other stage finishes are in Senawang, Melaka, Bangi, Shah Alam and the nation's capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The race is 1,029.9 kilometres long. The longest day is stage four, 222.2 kilometres from Melaka to Bangi.

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