The Tour de Langkawi is getting tougher in 2015 as it cuts its days from 10 to eight while still increasing the number of mountain stages. Traditionally, the race has been a sprinter’s paradise with nine predominantly flat stages and a mountain stage thrown in just to shake up the general classification.
"Although shortened to eight stages this year, we believe all the elements required to make this an exciting route has been met. So we are looking forward to this edition of the race which we expect to be a fitting celebration of 20 years of Le Tour de Langkawi," said race CEO Datuk Malik Mydin.
This year’s Tour de Langkawi – which, despite the name, only spends a single day on the idyllic island, will feature two stages in the Titiwangsa Mountains in the final three days while the shortened route he been designed to speed up the racing.
Stage one brings the riders to the race’s namesake, the island of Langkawi for a short 101.1km beginning at the Underwater World in Pantai Chenang. The short stage allows the entire race caravan to travel by boat over to the mainland of Malaysia ahead of day two, which takes the riders 170 kilometres from Alor Star to Sunai Petani.
The general classification will get their first taste of the mountains on stage three, which has been billed as the most scenic of the entire race. It is another 170-kilometre long day beginning in Gerik and heading Northwest to Tanah Merah and a climb to the top of the Titiwangsa range.
After a brief diversion into the hills, the sprinters will get another chance to make their mark on the 165.4-kilometre stage four from Kota Bharu to Kuala Berang. At 200 kilometres, stage five is the longest day of the entire race and brings the riders down the coast from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan. The undulating terrain and coastal winds make this more than just a straightforward sprint stage.
The fight for the general classification will begin resume on a punchy stage six from Maran to Karak. With Friday a day of rest in Malaysia, it is the shortest stage of the week at just 96.6 kilometres and should be another fast and furious day. The annual pilgrimage the Genting Highlands returns to its traditional position on the penultimate day of racing. The steep and unforgiving climb will decide the overall classification. The sprinters will then get their last chance for victory with a city centre circuit around Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
The Tour de Langkawi will run from March 8-15.