KUALA LUMPUR – RIDERS bound for Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 have regarded the Fraser’s Hill climb as “equally challenging” as the Genting climb with some expecting an open race and exciting competition in the race which starts in Alor Setar on Feb 9.

Some of the riders, who are now competing in the Tour Down Under, were of the opinion that the exclusion of Genting would not at all affect the excitement and competitiveness of the annual race.

For Credit Agricole’s new signing Simon Gerrans, despite Fraser’s Hill being at a lower level than Genting, he
predicts tough challenges ahead.

“I’ve never done Genting before as this will be my first ride in Le Tour de Langkawi. I’m not sure how it feels to
ride in Genting but my teammates who have done Genting told me that it would be really really tough so in a way, I’m kind of glad not to do it at this point of time,” said Gerrans who is currently competing in in Adelaide.

Gerrans said that despite the fact that Fraser’s Hill is not as steep as Genting, he is certain that the climb there would provide a different kind of challenge.

“This would certainly leads to keen competition and opens the race a bit more. A lot of riders can now look forward to emerge as eventual champion as the level of competition is quite open,” he said.

Australian rider Matt Wilson, who will steer new American outfit Team Type 1, was elated to hear that the race would be going to Fraser’s Hill.

“I last did the Le Tour de Langkawi 10 years ago with the Australian National team. There were no bad memories in
Genting and I’m definitely looking forward to riding up to Fraser’s Hill.

It opens up our chances of winning the race for my new team, and it avoids a situation where only one or three riders really stand a good chance of winning a hill climb stage,”said Wilson who won the Herald Sun Tour last October.

For Bouygeus Telekom’s Aurelien Clerc, the exclusion of Genting means there will be less reasons for sprinters to

“For sprinters like me, there will be less worry about being able to make it to the top and in the stipulated time,” he said.

Australia’s most promising rider Wesley Sulzberger came in second in the U23 world championship in Stuttgart was also excited with the new challenge in Fraser’s Hill.

“Last year I struggled in Genting after crashing on stage four,” said the Tasmanian rider from Southaustralia.com
adding that: “But with the exclusion of Genting this time around, everybody have a chance of winning the General

The Tour’s organising committee last Tuesday announced the c ange of the 2008 route, replacing the landmark Genting climb with Fraser’s Hill for the penultimate stage on February 16.

The committee cited safety as the main reason as genting will be experiencing busy and huge volume of traffic going up and down the popular holiday destination due to the Chinese New Year celebration which falls on 7th and 8th February.

Genting however remained as sponsor of the Genting King of the Mountains jersey.

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