Nov 15, 2011
PUTRAJAYA, Tuesday - 15th November 2011: For the first time, an international level cycling race - Tour of Borneo will be held in Sabah, from April 27 to May 1 next year.
Organized Sabah State Cycling Association (SCA), the five-day tour involves five stages covering a total distance of 674.4 kilometres and is listed in the UCI Asian Tour calendar, adding a new challenge in the International road race scene in Asia, along with well renowned Le Tour de Langkawi and Jelajah Malaysia.
Sanctioned by Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) and the International Cycling Union (UCI). For the inaugural edition, SCA expects participation of 20 professional teams from the 5 continents of America, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia, including Malaysia.
Tour of Borneo patron, the Honourable YB Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie bin Haji Apdal while officiating the launch in Putrajaya today said, the first edition of Tour of Borneo hopes to bring great success to the sports and tourism industry of Sabah and Malaysia.
“The 5 stages race beginning from 27th April will start from my beloved hometown Semporna, an idyllic district renowned for its best diving spots in the world like Sipadan, Mabul and Sitangkai.”
"From there the riders will proceed to Tawau, Lahad Datu, and Sandakan before they face the grueling mountain highlands leading to Kundasang, the base of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia. The race will end in the West Coast of Sabah, on 1st of May 2012 covering the district of Kota Kinabalu, Papar and Penampang.”
"I believe the combination of these routes have been selected to bring excitement and challenge for the riders," he said at the launching ceremony held at the Visitor’s Lounge of Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, Precinct 4, Putrajaya today.
According to Datuk Seri Shafie, other than competing for the overall title, riders would also have the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of ‘Kaamatan Festival’; which is celebrated on May 1 of every year.
At the same time, he also hopes that organizing international cycling events in the state will generate interest in the sport of cycling among youths of Sabah, and to produce professional cycling team in the future.
Furthermore, to ensure the 2012 Tour of Borneo a successful event, he hoped that more private sector and individuals to come forward to help sponsor the tour.
Datuk Seri Shafie added, discussion is underway to broadcast the daily race highlights in national TV channels, as well as working with various media locally and internationally to promote the tour.
"It will be the best medium for sponsors to promote their products, goods and their logo to the mass audience at each start, finish locations and along the race route used during the event while major tour sponsor will get the best exposure which is the yellow jersey, leader of the race," he said.