Stiff competition for Yellow Jersey in 2020 LTdL

KOTA KINABALU (BERNAMA) – 2013 world road race Under 23 (U-23) runner-up Louis Meintjes is aware of the stiff competition for the Yellow Jersey in 2020 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), which starts with the Malaysian International Criterium Race at Padang Merdeka, Malaysia today.

Speaking at the 2020 LTdL pre-tournament press conference yesterday, the 27-year-old South African, who finished 11th overall in his debut at 2014 LTdL, said his team, NTT Pro Cycling Team, are placing huge hopes on him to score a positive result in the 25th edition of the Asian premier cycling race.

“I don’t think longer stages would give benefits to any riders, but the climbing stage (stage four) in Genting Highlands (on Monday) would be vital to decide the overall winner.

“We just have to make sure that we are not left far behind by other riders throughout the race, and hopefully I can do my best in my second appearance in LTdL,” said Meintjes, who clinched a second-place finish of white jersey (youth classification) at the renowned 2017 Tour de France race.

Meanwhile, Australian rider Black Quick of St George Continental Cycling Team, who claimed second placed twice at the 2019 LTdL, is determined to do better this time but is wary of the threat from other riders, especially the sprinters on the early stages of this year’s race.

“Last year was my first participation in LTdL, and I’ve learnt a lot competing against other top riders especially from the European countries.

“For me, LTdL is the best race for the sprinters to gauge their capability. On the weather, I’ve adapted to it but for me the most important thing is to help my team clinch victory,” said the 19-year-old Brisbane- born rider.

The 2020 LTdL will run from today until February 15, covering a total distance of 1,114.9km across eight Malaysian states – Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah – and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Louis Meintjes of NTT Pro Cycling Team (2nd R) with other racers during the press conference. PHOTO: BERNAMA