Paul Griffin will miss GENTING and the hospitality

Cyclists fear it but the spectators simply adore it as they observe from a distance the magic of the cyclist throwing down the gauntlet to the one of the toughest climbs in a bike race world wide. Whenever Le Tour de Langkawi is spoken of in hushed voices, because of the respect that competitors have since the start of the love affair! Genting Highlands is spoken of in reverence and rightly so! , Yes! The climb up to Genting Highlands has been part and parcel of this unique event which now enters its 13th season on the road. If the cyclists respect it the motorised public equally respect it.

Naturally, when the news came through yesterday, that it would missing this time around, the would be competitors must have breathed a sigh of relief.

It has always been the penultimate stage and each year it literally brought a little bit of magic, not that the Genting Resorts had an abundance of that.

So, ‘The City of Entertainment’ high in the sky will abdicate on this occasion.

Into the fray comes a familiar ascent that of Fraser’s Hill. Now, a new stage start Temerloh for 127kms of racing as against 154kms. Also the climbing has been virtually halved from 1700m to 844m and dare i say it an easier finish.

The police station of Fraser’s hill

“This is one of Genting’s busiest periods and the management informed us that it would be difficult to totally close the roads all the way too the peak as is usually done,” said the race’s Chief Operating Officer Datuk Naim Mohamad. “The Genting management proposed finishing the stage at Gohtong Jaya. But the Organizing Committee felt that with such high volume of traffic trying to access the resort, it could lead to massive jams and worse still, safety issues.”

From an organising viewpoint, the continuation of Genting’s Resorts World to remain in situ as a sponsor is very much appreciated ”They will continue as sponsor of the King of the Mountains jersey, the organisers said.The event comes under starters orders on February 9th.Now with the magnifying glass of Genting the attention switches to the longest stage of the event, Sitiawan to Banting where it is expected that the throttle will be full blast for the competitors in this year’s race.

When I spoke with Paul Griffin a member of the Giant Asia Team who has competed a number of times in ‘Le Tour,’ ”I kind of liked the mystique of Genting. Not that I would have been observant about the scenic views on the ascent. I just concentrated on getting up into the clouds in one piece. The buzz from the people lining the route was very encouraging and the Malay people are so hospitable that you really don’t notice the pain etched on the guys around you.
‘It was man and machine against the elements and normally that was the heat, but at the top it was sheer relief all round.,’ said Paul just back from Malaysia where he was for the Jelejah Malaysia Tour.

Race route
Stage 1 – February 9th: Alor Star – Kepala Batas (182.6km)
Stage 2 – February 10th: Butterworth – Sitiawan (159.7km)
Stage 3 – February 11th: Sitiawan – Banting (209.4km)
Stage 4 – February 12th: Port Dickson – Batu Pahat (169km)
Stage 5 – February 13th: Johor Bahru – Bandar Penawar (139.9km)
Stage 7 – February 15th: Kuala Rompin – Kuantan (126.6km)
Stage 8 – February 16th: Temerloh – Fraser’s Hill (127km)
Stage 9 – February 17th: Kuala Lumpur Criterium (80.4km)


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