Monday, February 27, 2017

Enrico Barbin breaks the ice for Bardiani CSF - Le Tour De Langkawi 2017

MUAR: Just like Mekseb Debesay and Ryan Gibbons in the two previous stages, Italy’s Enrico Barbin opened his professional account at the 2017 Le Tour de Langkawi as he claimed his first victory at the age of 26 in Muar. He outsprinted Australia’s Anthony Giacoppo of IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness and his compatriot Filippo Pozzato from Wilier Triestina to deliver Bardiani CSF’s first win of the year and their first stage victory at LTdL since Marco Canola won solo in Kuantan in 2012.


The Italian squad managed by the Reverberis, father and son, is the oldest participant to LTdL, having made their first appearance as Scrigno in 1998 with five stage wins that year including the first ever as a pro for Alessandro Petacchi. Their organization is also the most successful in terms of stage victories in the history of the Malaysian premier stage race as Barbin bagged their 35th while Gianni Savio’s team now called Androni is second on the tally with 24, followed by the currently named Wilier Triestina outfit with 16.

“It’s an honour for me to become part of this history”, Barbin declared. “I was feeling well and my whole team too [his team-mate Lorenzo Rota was up the road for most of the stage along with Colombia’s Wilmar Paredes and Hong Kong’s Ronald Yeung who was awarded the daily prize of most combative rider]. I’m not fast enough to beat the fastest sprinters here but I took advantage of them. Through the radio, we had perfect explanation of the finale and where the wind was blowing from so it was a question of getting the best position over the bridge and anticipate the sprint with 300 metres to go.”

“We were working for [stage 3 winner Jakub] Mareczko”, Pozzato explained. “But Unitedhealthcare attacked in the wind after the bridge. Kuba followed them but it was a bit far away from the line. Barbin has been smart accelerating from behind. I went after him but I got blocked for a little while and when I resumed my sprint with no speed it was too difficult and too late.”

As much as Pozzato replaced Mareczko due to sprinting circumstances, Giacoppo found himself as a substitute for Scott Sunderland. “We were going for Scott”, the Western Australian said, “but he got caught out of position in the last corner so I went myself. When we caught Mareczko, I hesitated a bit. Maybe I should have kept going.”

“Safety first was at the back of my mind but I definitely wanted to be in the sprint”, commented Gibbons who retained the yellow jersey.

“Going over the bridge when we turned right, we were behind Unitedhealthcare but we lost the wheels and four of their riders and Mareczko got away. I spent all my energy trying to close the gap because I didn’t want to lose any time on the UHC rider who is high on GC [Daniel Jaramillo]. I brought the peloton with me but when the proper sprint started I already made my effort so I just focused on not crashing.”

“Today was the first day in the Tour that I wasn’t at 100%. Normally I feel good racing in the rain but I only found my legs in the third hour. Maybe the rain was a little factor. There was no real stress though. I see two more sprint opportunities. It would be really good to bring the yellow jersey home.” He concluded.

Stage 7 from the historical city of Melaka to Rembau will be 148km long with three climbs in the finale.

-www.ltdl.com.my

Fraser’s Hill to be kept pristine for migratory birds

Bird watchers: Students looking for the different kind of
species of birds during the event at Fraser’s Hill.
RAUB: Fraser’s Hill which is a habitat for migratory birds will be kept pristine, said state Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin.


“As of now, only 5% of the Fraser’s Hill is developed and there will be no more development. Only upgrading of existing facilities will be allowed,” he said.
“We have to limit the development in the area. This is a well-known tourist attraction and a bird watching destination,” he after attending the closing ceremony of the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race yesterday.
A total of 315 bird lovers took part in the competition here yesterday.
The participants came from countries such as Japan, Nepal, Canada, France, South Africa, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.
As for the proposed project to have a cable car from Raub to Fraser’s Hill, Mohd Sharkar said the feasibility studies found that it was not viable.
Mohd Sharkar also said that Fraser’s Hill was one of the oldest tourist destinations in the world and that it was loved for its cool climate and greenery.
Last year, the hill resort was a very popular with tourists and welcomed 123,483 visitors, which was a 6% increase compared to 2015.
“One of the main attractions here is bird watching,” he said.
“Our country is in the fourth position in Asia as a birding destination after China, India and Thailand.”
Mohd Sharkar said there were at least 785 species of bird recorded in the country and most of these birds could be found in Fraser’s Hill.
He said BirdLife International, the world’s largest nature conservation partnership, had identified Fraser’s Hill as an “important bird area (IBA)”.

-thestar online.

Kota Permai GCC March School Holidays Golf Package 2017

-Malaysia Golf Tourism Association facebook.
http://www.kotapermai.com.my/

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ryan Gibbons, the breakthrough - Le Tour De Langkawi 2017

KUALA KUBU BHARU : Race leader Ryan Gibbons of Dimension Data claimed his first pro victory at the end of stage 5 of the 22nd Le Tour de Langkawi in Kuala Kubu Baru where he outsprinted stage 3 winner Jakub Mareczko and stage 2 winner Travis McCabe. The 22 year old South African also increased his lead in the overall ranking from 11 to 23 seconds over Australia’s Cameron Bayly as he also collected two seconds bonus on the way.


“Getting second on stage 1, that was a sense of achievement but today my first pro win is more a relief than anything else and I’m just so happy to finally get a win for the team and also for myself”, Gibbons commented.

“This result will stay for the rest of my career. On a good day on a flat road, I can win a bunch sprint but today with a bit of a drag and the road surface being bricks, it suited me a bit more but moreover my team put me in a perfect position. I would have been hard not to win. I’m really grateful for their help.”

“I wasn’t targeting the intermediate sprints”, the race leader continued. “It was more riding defensively. Every time with 1km to the sprint we so IsoWhey moving up. They had the teal jersey with Sunderland but Bayly was also up there so I had just had to make sure I’d finish in front of him. I’ve managed to pick up four points and two seconds. It was mainly watching the guys on GC, not worrying too much and not attacking them. The teal jersey is a great award but my focus for now is the yellow jersey. If it happens that I can win it as well, I’ll be grateful though.”

The whole stage was marked by one breakaway only. After fifty kilometers covered at a very high speed, Italy’s Fausto Masnada rode away, got a maximum advantage of 3.50 and sat up after the last intermediate sprint with just over 20km to go as the bunch was certainly going to reel him in.

“We wanted to ride offensively today since yesterday it didn’t go that well for us”, the Androni Giocattoli rider said the day his team manager Gianni Savio attended Le Tour de Langkawi. “We expected something more [the yellow jersey with Egan Bernal]. We started today with the idea to break away. After 50km, seeing that big groups weren’t going anywhere, I tried by himself, hoping that I’d get some help but nobody followed so I continued on my own. I never got bored. I’m happy I did it. I also came here looking for a good shape ahead of the races in Italy, so it’s been a good day.”

Stage 6 from Senawang to Muar will be 176.3km long with three climbs to start with in the first 45km.

-www.ltdl.com.my

Konsert Gegar Pop Yeh Yeh @ Istana Budaya Kuala Lumpur ( 3 ~ 5 Mac 2017 )



Konsert Gegar Pop Yeh Yeh 2017 akan mengembalikan kenangan anda yang membesar dan dewasa dengan lagu-lagu seperti Kenanganku, Siti Haida, Kenangan Mengusik Jiwa, Suratku Untukmu, Teruna, Cinta Hampa, Malam Pasar Ria, Dara Pujaan, Kesah dan Tauladan, Selamat Tinggal Bungaku, Hanya Untukmu, Ayahku Kahwin Lagi dan banyak lagi.
Gegarkan tiga malam Panggung Sari Istana Budaya dari 3 - 5 Mac 2017 ini dengan penyanyi 60-an iaitu Datuk Jefrydeen, Datuk A. Rahman Hassan, L. Ramli, J. Sham, Maria Bachok dan A. Rozainie. Generasi muda seperti Aiman Tino & Amira Othman turut membuat penampilan istimewa sebagai penghargaan generasi muda kepada warisan Pop Yeh Yeh.
Konsert Pop Yeh Yeh yang paling berbeza, Konsert Gegar Pop Yeh Yeh 2017 ini mengandungi segmen solo, tribute, duet / battle lagu-lagu Pop Yeh Yeh serta lagu-lagu Inggeris zaman 60an.


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Istana Budaya Jalan
Tun Razak:
03 40265520


-AirAsia RedTix.

Cleanliness is crucial for tourism, says Nazri

Just lion around: Guests at a Chinese New Year celebration
watching a lion dance at the Esplanade in Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: The cleanliness of a country is important when attracting tourists and to avoid giving them a poor impression, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.


This is especially so with Pe­­nang, which is seen as a culinary haven, he said.
“If the place is dirty, the im­pression is that we are a dirty country.
“If the place where the food is served is unhygienic, tourists will feel that they are getting food that is not clean.
“Malaysians are clean but we need to make sure our surroundings are also kept clean,” he said at the Tourism Malaysia Chinese New Year celebrations at the Esplanade here on Friday.
Nazri cited the case of Japanese reporters who congregated at Hospi­tal Kuala Lumpur for the co­­vera­ge of the Kim Jong-nam murder.
A Bernama reporter had ob­served that these Japanese pressmen, when their day ended, went about collecting garbage in the compound where they had gather­ed.
Nazri said Malaysians needed to show that they lived in a country that cultivates cleanliness.
As for George Town and Malacca which were Unesco Heritage Sites, he said: “If we do not want to lose our place in the list, we need to ensure the conservation of the heri­tage buildings.
“This is what attracts tourists.”

-thestar online.

Malaysia To Open Visa Processing Centre In Xiamen - Zahid

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 (Bernama) - The government has approved the opening of a visa processing centre in Xiamen, China in order to get at least one million tourists from Fujian province this year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he will direct the Department of Immigration and related vendors to operate the visa processing centre.

"I hope that this facility is not abused. I will not compromise when it comes to the security and the social harmony of Malaysia," he said when opening a tourism exhibition organised by the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) here, Saturday.

Zahid, who is also Home Minister warned that appropriate action would be taken against those found to be abusing the visas given.

On the tourism exhibition, he challenged the event organisers to attract at least 1,000 exhibitors next year.

"The government would like to give RM1 million for MITA fair next year but you have to use the budget properly and get more exhibitors to participate."

Zahid said he was willing to give a special budget to encourage tour guides to take up language courses to accommodate tourists from China, India and emerging markets in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, MITA president Uzaidi Udanis said the tourist target set by Zahid could be achieved as Fujian province has a population of more than 30 million.

"The influx of tourists from Fujian would help the government to achieve its target of four million tourists from China this year," he added.

The new visa processing centre in Xiamen is the fifth in China after Guangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai and Beijing.

-Bernama.

Debesay torments Cameron in the Cameron Highlands - Le Tour De Langkawi 2017

CAMERON HIGHLANDS : Dimension Data continued its winning streak with Eritrea’s Mekseb Debesay coming first atop the mythical Cameron Highlands, beating Australia’s Cameron Bayly by the length of a bike while Ryan Gibbons, third on the line only four seconds later, retained the yellow jersey and therefore gave the South African outfit a good chance to become the first team to win three Le Tour de Langkawi in a row after Youcef Reguigui and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg did so in 2015 and 2016.


“This is my first big victory”, reacted Debesay who only joined the WorldTour giants last year. “We rode together with my team-mates all day. The finale was quite hard but I followed some good riders and I outsprinted them. It was always my childhood dream in Africa to become a successful professional cyclist. It’s a dream come true now. I’ve been inspired by my compatriots Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane. They’re my heroes and I want to ride the Grand Tours like them in the same way I did today.”

Bayly of IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness moved up to second overall as he finished right behind Debesay and ahead of a group of nine riders who surge atop the final climb and comprised hot favourites Egan Bernal and Daniel Jaramillo as well as race leader Gibbons. “This is definitely a good result”, Bayly analyzed. “I’m a little bit disappointed to get second and not to win, being so close, but at the end of the day I was just not quick enough for the sprint. There were quite a few attacks before.

The Androni team was really aggressive. Bernal was very strong. I attacked with 1.5km to go. The Dimension Data rider came to wheel. I had to lead the sprint out. It’s good to be second on GC. We’ve got another four stages to go with a few of our riders in the top ten. We’ll try to shake things out, we’re not gonna leave it.”

Gibbons who expected to be in yellow for the last time saved his jersey and became the favourite for the overall classification as he’s got potential to improve his lead throughout the time bonuses in the upcoming sprints. “I’m more shocked than you guys are to still lead the race”, the South African said.

“A group of guys rode away but my team mates kept looking back and saw that I was coming across. Thankfully they didn’t put the pace on. They did a good job making sure that I was still up there. Jacques Janse van Rensburg brought me back to the front a few times. Nothing in my history proved that I could climb that well. This is new for me. I was not bluffing. It’s a surprise for me that I’ve been able to stay up there.”

Stage 5 from Meru Raya to Kuala Kubu Bahru, close to Kuala Lumpur, on a distance of 151.5km, should suit the sprinters.

-www.ltdl.com.my

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Malaysia Airlines Earns IATA Fast Travel Green

image: Malaysia Airlines facebook
Sepang, 23 February 2017:  Malaysia Airlines has become the first Malaysian carrier to receive the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Fast Travel Green certificate in recognition of the airline’s efforts in making passengers’ travel more flexible and convenient via its self-service facilities.


IATA’s Fast Travel Programme covers six areas of passenger travel which includes check-in, bags ready-to-go, document check, flight re-booking, self-boarding, and bag recovery. Airlines will then be ranked on the usage of these services by IATA.
By 2020, IATA aims for 80% of global passengers to be offered a complete self-service suite throughout their journey, based on IATA’s industry standards.
Under this programme, Malaysia Airlines has earned the Green ranking by meeting five of the requirements which are check-in, bags ready-to-go, flight re-booking, self-boarding and bag recovery.
The certificate was presented by Sunil Chopra, IATA’s Area Manager for Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, to Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bellew at the airline’s Head Office in Sepang.
Speaking at the event, Peter Bellew said, “We are delighted to be the first Malaysian carrier to receive IATA’s Fast Travel Green certificate. This achievement marks a great milestone as we move towards improving our overall customer experience and the efficiency of the airline’s operations.”
The services are in line with Malaysia Airlines’ strategy to leverage on technology in order to simplify and reduce the time for check in, giving customers more control over their travel experience. The airlines is already working towards Gold status which will require the implementation of the self-service travel document verification to passengers.

-Malaysia Airlines.

Farahdhiya Live @ Hard Rock Cafe, Kuala Lumpur ( 30 April 2017 )



Farahdhiya adalah naib juara Gegar Vaganza Musim Ke 2, sebuah program realiti terbitan Astro yang menyaksikan 12 penyanyi professional lama atau berpengalaman dalam industri muzik di Malaysia bersaing dalam satu pertandingan nyanyian.
Farahdhiya Mohd Amin ialah seorang penyanyi, pelakon dan pengacara wanita yang bergiat di dalam dunia hiburan Malaysia. Beliau yang berbintang Taurus dilahirkan pada 28 April 1984 di Sarzana, Itali.
Beliau merupakan anak bongsu daripada dua beradik. Ibu berasal dari Portsmouth, England manakala ayahnya berasal dari Johor. Mendapat pelajaran awal di Sekolah Menengah Telok Gadung, Klang, Selangor kemudian berpindah ke Sekolah Menengah Taman Melawati, Ulu Kelang, Selangor.
Farahdhiya mula menjinakkan diri di dalam dunia nyanyian sejak berusia belasan tahun lagi di bawah naungan KRU Records. Kini bernaung di bawah NAR Records. Beliau telah menghasilkan dua buah album, Bertakhta Di Hati dalam tahun 2004 dan Yang Ku Puja di akhir 2006. Bertakhta Di Hati mendapat tempat di dalam carta carta di dalam radio Era dan Hot.FM serta mendapat pencalonan di dalam Anugerah AIM sebagai Artis Baru Terbaik.
Selain menyanyi, Farah Dhiya berkecimpung di dalam bidang pengacaraan di mana beliau menjadi hos rancangan realiti, Jaguh Futsal RTM selama beberapa episod. Selain dari itu, Farahdhiya juga telah berjinak-jinak dengan dunia lakonan. Drama pertama lakonannya adalah Mencari Arah Kiblat yang disiarkan di TV sempena Awal Muharam 2007. Pada masa kini, beliau membintangi drama popular di TV3, dalam slot akasia, iaitu Spa Q untuk 60 episod, yang disiarkan pada 23 Oktober 2007 hingga 31 Januari 2008 lalu, sebagai Fatin. Drama inilah yang menaikkan namanya sekarang.
Kemunculan semula beliau dalam pertandingan Gegar Vaganza, Nama beliau kembali diperkatakan dalam bidang muzik bila berjaya memenangi tempat kedua pertandingan tersebut dengan perbezaan markah kurang dari 2 markah dari pemenangnya Siti Nordiana.


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Victoria Music outlets:
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-AirAsia RedTix.

Jakub Mareczko avenges Filippo Pozzato in stage 3 - Le Tour De Langkawi 2017

PANTAI REMIS : Jakub “Kuba” Mareczko gave Wilier Triestina their first victory of the 2017 season in stage 3 of Le Tour de Langkawi at Pantai Remis the day after his team-mate Filippo Pozzato came close. The diminutive Italian outsprinted stage 1 winner Scott Sunderland who moved into the lead of the points classification whereas Ryan Gibbons of South Africa retained the yellow jersey ahead of the queen stage to the Cameron Highlands.


“Finally I broke the ice”, Mareczko commented. “The whole team was dedicated to bring me to victory. I’m grateful to my team-mates for that. Pozzato, [Alberto] Cecchin and [Rafael] Andriato dragged me to the first positions of the peloton and I could launch my sprint with 400 metres to go.”

Tipped for being the “new Andrea Guardini” [in reference to the 22-time stage winner at LTdL], Mareczko won by a length of a bike over Sunderland. “It was difficult with a lot of people moving up all the time ahead of the sprint as everyone was fresh”, the Australian explained. “I’ve started my sprint from a long way back as I was out of position. I came from 25th wheel at 300m to go while he [Mareczko] was third wheel with 200m to go. His team here is built around him while mine has four guys out of six who are strong in the climbs. They have to protect themselves for GC so I have to ride solo and use other teams.”

Dimension Data did most of the pace at the helm of the peloton behind escape artist Loh Sea Keong (Thailand Continental Team) who was accompanied by Stepan Astafyev (Vino Astana Motors) and Dominic Perez (7/11) with a maximum lead of five minutes.

“In the last two kilometers, I nearly fell about three times”, race leader Gibbons informed. “So my head wasn’t in it. About 200 metres to go, I tried to come out and I just went backwards. Hopefully I can find my head again for the upcoming stages. My team rode all day because they had a lot of faith in me and I was confident in myself. Jacques Janse van Rensburg sat at the front of the peloton by himself for 90 kilometres. I’m sorry to have let the team down. It just wasn’t my day.”

Gibbons added that, being realistic, he expects stage 4 to be his final day in the yellow jersey as his team-mates Mekseb Debesay from Eritrea and Ben O’Connor from Australia will take the team’s leadership over from him. Colombians are set to fill the shoes of their compatriot Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez who was a brilliant stage winner in the Cameron Highlands one year ago.

-www.ltdl.com.my

Special MATTA packages coming

Solid collaboration: Wong (left) and Liow holding up promotional posters on MATTA Fair after their press conference to announce SOTA’s participation as MATTA’s technology partner.


KUALA LUMPUR: More unique packages will be offered on the matta.travel website, including those organised by various national tourism organisations.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) secreta­­ry-general Nigel Wong said it had been approached by a number of such organisations, which were beginning to spend more on digital marketing.
“For them, this and the success of MATTA Fairs have made the website – matta.travel – an attractive proposition.
“Consumers can look forward to very specialised arrangements and deals to different countries for various activities in the next couple of months.
“We are going to keep things fresh and exciting so that consumers can get specialised deals and (tour) themes over the next few months,” he told reporters here yesterday.
Wong was speaking at a press conference to announce digital platform Smart Online Travel Assistant (SOTA) as the coming MATTA Fair’s official technology partner.
He said there would also be packages at both the fair and on matta.travel to cater to the growing number of free independent travellers, which meant solo or small tour groups.
In conjunction with the fair, Wong said the public had a chance of winning a total of RM15,000 in travel vouchers by joining a slogan contest on the matta.travel website.
The contest ends on March 12.
SOTA chief marketing officer Joanna Liao said the matta.travel website would help more tour and travel agents reach out to the online audience.
“Less than 5% of Malaysian tour and travel agents are e-enabled – meaning the ability to sell online – so the website helps them in that. It also benefits consumers,” she said.
She said the website had an average of 300 to 500 visitors daily, 75% of whom were new to the site.
“Every time new visitors come to the site, it helps matta.travel become more known,” she said.
The MATTA Fair, to be held from March 17-19, at the Putra World Trade Centre, is open from 10am to 9pm daily. The entrance ticket is priced at RM4 daily.

-thestar online.

Friday, February 24, 2017

APAC carriers will lead the third golden age of aviation

North American carriers are enjoying a golden age right now but the future will be in Asia-Pacific, according to IATA regional vice president Asia-Pacific, Conrad Clifford.


Clifford described the present times as the second golden age (after the PanAm era in the 1960s) led by North America where prices are at their lowest; efficiency is better than ever; airlines are re-fleeted, re-consolidated and re-structured; and there is convergence with the emergence of new airline models incorporating the strengths and removing the weaknesses of both the full-service carriers (FSCs) and LCCs.

But he expects a third golden age of aviation where Asia-Pacific carriers will lead the world.

“The market has recognised the turnaround and North American airlines are becoming investment-grade vehicles: this is unprecedented and that’s why I am calling it the second golden age,” said Clifford in his opening remarks on the second day of Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore on Wednesday.

“The top four net profits in 2015 were all North American (airlines): American Airlines made a net profit of US$6 billion in 2015, United Airlines US$4 billion, Delta Air Lines US$4 billion and Southwest Airlines US$2 billion. These four North American carriers accounted for 45 per cent of the total global industry profit for 2015 (US$35.3 billion). And 2016 was estimated to be an even better year than 2015. And 2017 will still be good and deliver real returns to shareholders.

“Of course we may be cynical and say that it’s only due to the low fuel prices…but I would like to say this is not just about the fuel price.”

He said it is about the magic three C’s: capacity discipline, consolidation and charging for everything.

In 15 years’ time, all the world’s most profitable airlines – FSCs, LCCs and hybrids – will all be based in the Asia-Pacific region, with growth fuelled by the region's demographics, Clifford projected.

“North America may be the largest aviation market in the world today but more than half of mankind is within a 5.5-hour flight time – that’s the profitable payload range on the latest Boeing's and Airbus' narrowbody 737 max, A321neo – from us all sitting in this room in Singapore.

“China will be the largest market in the world in less than 20 years, India will be number three, Indonesia number five and Japan number seven. And right now India has the fastest growing domestic market on the planet,” said Clifford.

Presently, the future looks likely to be dominated by LCCs in this part of the world, he said, pointing out that the region with the biggest LCC penetration in the world is South-east Asia, while China is growing fast since last year.

But Clifford believed the future is going to be those airlines “that capture the best of FSCs and LCCs, eliminate the parts of those models that don’t suit our Asia-Pacific markets, and keep on changing and growing”.

-TTG Asia.

Travel Fair Deals - Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Don't miss out on our Special Deals!
See you  at Booth A133 at MITA Travel Fair, Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre from 24 -26 Feb., 2017.
-Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Website : http://www.seripacifichotel.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Travis McCabe ruins Gibbons and Pozzato's dreams @ Le Tour De Langkawi 2017

GERIK : American outfit Unitedhealthcare continued its winning streak at Le Tour de Langkawi with Travis McCabe outsprinting Filippo Pozzato and Ryan Gibbons who became the new race leader on the slightly downhill finish in Gerik in the state of Perak in northern Malaysia. They previously won a stage in 2014 with Bradley White and in 2016 with John Murphy.


Exactly like Murphy one year ago, McCabe lined up at LTdL fresh from a stage win at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia. “We came here with the ambition to win”, the American sprinter said at the post-race press conference. “We really wanted to work on the lead out train that we have. I wasn’t trying to fill the shoes of Murphy but it’s great to do the same as him. For me, today, it was all about patience. We showed yesterday that we had the lead out train and the power to take me to the line but I made a mistake by going way too early. Today I went into a small break before the category 1 climb to make it easier when Manzana really hit it on the climb.”

It was a long but eventful day of racing from the East Coast to the jungle via the Titiwangsa Range. It started with a crash involving Pozzato and taking Terengganu’s sprinter Harrif Saleh out of the race as he hit a rock. 49 kilometres were covered in the first hour, making it impossible for anyone to escape from the peloton but a group of 16 riders eventually rode away but the presence of the likes of Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Bernardo Suaza (Manzana-Postobon) and Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports Swisswellness) forced Androni Giocattoli to chase. Attracted by the King of the Mountains competition after losing hopes of winning the overall classification after a crash in stage 1, John Ebsen (Infinite AIS) went on his own 90km before the finish in order to score important points atop Titiwangsa. The selective terrain reduced the bunch to fifty riders only.

Italy’s Pozzato was close to add his name to the record of stage winners at Gerik after his prestigious compatriots Gianni Bugno in 1997 and Rinaldo Nocentini in 1999 but McCabe outclassed him at the very end of a tight finish. “My day started with a crash while I was in the middle of road at the back of the peloton in order to not risk anything”, Pozzato explained.

“But someone bumped into me after losing control of his handlebar and I fell on my face. My head was shocked by the crash but my legs were going much better than yesterday after the traveling. In the finale I wanted to anticipate the sprint because I’m not as fast as these guys.

But the Unitedhealthcare riders have done a great job as they rode strongly from 1.2km to the end. There was no space for me to attack. When they opened it for their sprinter, I exited on the right side of the road. I hesitated a bit but at the end he was faster than me. It’s a pity because I would have liked to break the ice and take a first victory this year, especially for the team. They need some results after the good work done since the beginning of the year. We’ll try again.”

Third on the line, Gibbons took over from Scott Sunderland in the lead of the overall ranking. “I had a bike change due to a mechanical at about 60km to go”, the South African revealed. “It had a 53 on and I couldn’t get it down to the 11 [gear]. I had a perfect lead out. I thought it was no problem to come round him but I had no speed. I’m disappointed not to win but I’m happy to be in the yellow jersey. It sounds like an excuse but I think I’m quicker than these guys and I want to prove it in the coming days.”

Stage 3 is expected to be a good one for the sprinters, being relatively short (118km) from Serdang to Pantai Remis.

-www.ltdl.com.my

New Tourism Malaysia offices to tap India's growth potential

Inbound agents have welcomed Malaysian tourism and culture minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s announcement to set up Tourism Malaysia offices in Kolkata and potentially Amritsar to increase visitors from India’s eastern region.


“Setting up an office in Kolkata is a good idea as it is the gateway from East India to Malaysia,” said Adam Kamal, secretary general of Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association.

Tourism Malaysia currently has offices in three Indian cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

The new offices will enable Tourism Malaysia to tap the swelling ranks of middle-class travellers in Kolkata and Amritsar, noted Arokia Das, senior manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia.

“There should be full-fledged Tourism Malaysia offices in major metros like Hyderabad and Bengaluru and smaller offices in second-tier cities. We’ve got to get Malaysia into everybody’s minds. There should also be more carriers between Malaysia and second-tier cities in India,” he urged.

With 188 flights weekly providing 35,915 seats between Malaysia and India, air connectivity between the two countries can be improved still, agents pointed out.

Adam said: “Malaysia Airlines should also open new routes between Malaysia and India as it did with China recently. It is a good way of attracting more tourists, and will also complement the e-visa facility introduced in April 2016 for Indians residing in India.”

-TTG Asia.