Fraser’s Hill will still generate interest
PETALING JAYA: The landmark Genting climb has been replaced with Fraser’s Hill for the penultimate stage of the Tour of Langkawi (LTdL) next month but it is not seen as a great loss in interest of the championships.
The Fraser’s Hill stage is expected to be an equally challenging and exciting race of the tour, which begins in Alor Star on Feb 9.
The Genting stage scheduled for Feb 16 had to be replaced because of security reasons. It is the Chinese New Year festive season and there will be a heavy traffic going up and down the popular holiday destination.
Some of the riders, who are currently competing in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, were of the opinion that the exclusion of Genting would not at all affect the excitement and competitiveness of the annual tour.
Credit Agricole’s new signing Simon Gerrans said that Fraser’s Hill was at a lower level than Genting but he predicted a tough challenge.
“It will be my first participation and I don’t know how it feels riding up to Genting. My teammates told me that it would be really tough. So I’m kind of glad not to do it at this point of time,” said Gerrans.
“Fraser’s Hill is not as steep as Genting but the climb would provide a different kind of challenge. It would open up the race a bit more. A lot of riders can now look forward to emerge as the eventual champion.”
Australian Matt Wilson, who will lead new American outfit Team Type 1, was elated to hear that the race would be going to Fraser’s Hill. I did the LTdL 10 years ago with the Australian national team.
“There were no bad memories in Genting. I’m definitely looking forward to riding up to Fraser’s Hill. It avoids a situation where only one to three riders really stand chance to win the hill climb stage,” he said.
For Bouygeus Telekom’s Aurelien Clerc, the exclusion of Genting means that there will be fewer reasons for sprinters to worry.
“For sprinters like me, there will be less worry about being able to make it to the top in the stipulated time,” he said.