Just when you think you're tough enough


Tour de France Spirit Takes Over Melaka: Cyclists Celebrate Inaugural L’Étape Event

Cycling enthusiasts from across the region converged in the historic city of Melaka today for the debut of L’Étape Melaka by Tour de France, marking the third consecutive year of the event’s presence in Malaysia, as well as the newest location to host the prestigious event.

Dubbed as “the World’s Greatest Amateur Cycling Event,”, L’Étape by Tour de France offers cyclists the opportunity to push their limits and motivate one another in a spirit reminiscent of the renowned Tour de France.

Flagging off from The Sail Melaka, riders embarked on a picturesque journey that combines cycling with historical exploration. The 2024 L’Étape Melaka is more than just a cycling event; it’s a cultural journey set against the vibrant heritage of Melaka. Presented as a sports tourism experience, it has consistently drawn many participants each year.

The inaugural L’Étape Melaka by Tour de France saw a significant turnout, drawing more than 3,350 participants including 90% from international and domestic riders from over 47 countries. This turnout not only reflects the rising popularity of cycling in Asia but also fosters camaraderie among cyclists from a variety of backgrounds.

Cycling enthusiasts had the opportunity to experience the adrenaline rush of the Tour de France with 140km and 70km route options. These courses were approved by Tour de France experts to provide a challenge that appealed to both new and seasoned cyclists while traversing the landscapes of Melaka.

Safety remained a top priority, with fully-closed roads, well-placed food and water stations, mechanical support, and fast-response medical aid ensuring a secure environment for all participants. The event’s sanctioning by the Malaysia National Cycling Federation further underscored its commitment to safety and excellence.

Nestled in the heart of Malaysia, Melaka provided the perfect backdrop for this immersive cultural experience. As cyclists crossed the finish line, they not only celebrated their physical achievements but also embraced the rich heritage of Melaka, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Amongst the main highlights of L’Étape Melaka included the plethora of festival activities that enriched participants’ interactions beyond the racecourse., including a lucky draw with over RM100,000 worth of prizes to be given away, including a Specialized Roubaix SL8 valued at RM27,000. Other activities include memorabilia display by Tour de France, pushbike competition, activation booths by sponsors and more.

“We are thrilled to bring L’Étape by Tour de France to Melaka for the first time and during the Visit Melaka Year 2024,” said a Riduwan Matni, Group CEO from Muse Group Asia, co-organizers of the event. “The enthusiasm shown by riders and spectators alike is a testament to the growing cycling community in Asia, and we look forward to further expanding the event’s reach in the years to come.”

Among the highlights of the event was the Specialized Elite Wave, which featured an exclusive podium ceremony for the winners, adding an extra layer of prestige to the occasion. The male and female winners shared their experiences of the race, reflecting on the challenges they faced and the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Former pro cyclist Mohd Hafidz Abd Hamid, sprinting neck-to-neck with defending champion and former Olympian rower, Matthew Brittain, surged ahead to clinch the Specialized Elite Wave Men’s category championship said, “It was an unexpected win, and it was truly my lucky day. I took a gamble, gave it my all, pushing through to the finish line. There were moments I almost gave up but seeing an opportunity to secure the second place (safe choice), I persevered until the final kilometre, giving it my all in that last sprint. The course was undeniably tough, filled with challenging hills typical of Melaka. Despite modest preparations, luck was on my side, and I managed to endure to win.”

Hailing from South Africa and currently based in Singapore, Alicia Brittain, the reigning champion for the Specialized Elite Wave Women’s category, radiated with enthusiasm as she shared her experience. “I’m feeling over the moon. Every race, you start from zero and you don’t have any expectations. I’m just very happy that everything went to plan. It was a safe race, and I was able to keep up and win the game. We had really good weather today. The rain cleared yesterday, so we had some nice temperature. The course was really flowy and fun; we had fast downhills, and the road quality was great. The closures really help, and we had enough marshals showing us where to go so, all in all, you can’t really go wrong. It was just so easy to navigate, as long as you move fast enough,” Alicia Brittain said with a grin, emphasizing the camaraderie among competitors.

In addition to the exhilarating race experience, participants had the chance to win exclusive prizes, including a Roubaix SL8 valued at RM 27,000 in a lucky draw.

L’Étape Melaka by Tour de France would not have been possible without the generous support of its sponsors and partners, including Sheng Tai and The Sail, Specialized, MyCEB, KBS, ChekHup, Zoot, Amino Vital, Prince Court, Birkin International Hotel, POS Malaysia, Grupetto, Propain, Shimano, Cyclomotion, Checkpoint Spot, Cowa, and Element X and Muse Group, who co-organized the event.

As the curtains close on L’Étape Melaka by Tour de France 2024, cyclists and spectators alike are left with memories of an unforgettable journey through the historical beauty of Melaka, eagerly anticipating the next edition of this iconic event.