Putrajaya, 7 March 2012 – The historic Merdeka Stadium will bear witness to the start of Malaysia’s oldest cycling race series, the Jelajah Malaysia 2012. This year’s race will head north from Merdeka Stadium on 8 May 2012 and will end at the Dataran Merdeka on 13 May 2012.
The new route for the latest edition of the Jelajah Malaysia whose roots can be traced back to 1963 was announced by Dato Sri’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the Minister for Youth and Sports in Putrajaya this afternoon.
“The reason why we have chosen the Merdeka Stadium as the starting point this year was because we wanted to give credence to a venue which is historically significant – just like the Jelajah Malaysia,” said Maniam Manickkam, the chairman of the Jelajah Malaysia 2012 organising committee.
“So we thought that it would be wise to have a momentous venue as the start considering that the ending this year which is the Dataran Merdeka is also a historical landmark of the country.”
Among the dignitaries in attendance at this afternoon’s function were Tuan Haji Abu Samah Wahab, the president of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation, Datuk Naim Mohamad, the deputy president of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation and Dato’ Mohid Mohamad, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Other than taking history into account, this year’s route is also unforgiving as it has been in the past. While last year’s race saw the peloton covering some 1011km throughout the same number of days, this time round, the riders will traipse through for a total distance of 1023km.
From Merdeka Stadium, Stage One will see the riders heading north to Bandar Baru Kampar in Perak. The longest stage of the tour this year will be in Stage Two from Kampar to Kulim in Kedah for a total distance of 201.8km. It is significantly shorter than last year’s longest stage at 222.5km.
Stage Three will see the peloton heading close to the Malaysia-Thailand border in Chuping in Perlis before Stage Four, a short 98.5km ride from Kangar to Sungai Petani in Kedah. From here, the race will head south to Ipoh in Perak for Stage Five just before the final race to the finish.
Stage Six will see a frantic finish in the second longest stage – a 199km ride from Ipoh to Dataran Merdeka.
For the record, Mehdi Sohrabi of Iran has won the overall individual title twice in the last decade. He won the crown last year to add to the title he picked up for the first time in 2007. Mehdi rides for the Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling team, who also won the team title in 2007 and also 2011.
The last Malaysian to pick up the overall individual title was Suhardi Hassan when he did it back in 2004 with the Kuala Lumpur Cycling team.
JELAJAH MALAYSIA 2012
STAGE ONE (8 May 2012) – Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Baru Kampar, Selangor (161.5km)
STAGE TWO (9 May 2012) - Bandar Baru Kampar, Perak to Kulim, Kedah (201.8km)
STAGE THREE (10 May 2012) – Kulim, Kedah to Felda Chuping, Perlis (168.8km)
STAGE FOUR (11 May 2012) – Kangar, Perlis to Sungai Petani, Kedah (98.5km)
STAGE FIVE (12 May 2012) - Sungai Petani, Kedah to Ipoh, Perak (193.4km)
STAGE SIX (13 May 2012) – Ipoh, Perak to Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur (199.5km)