Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) vice-president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill (centre) with Arya Premier chief executive officer Zarina Mohd Nor (left) and Ciclista chief executive officer Shahirudeen Seeni Mohamad during Wednesday’s press conference in Subang. BERNAMA PIC

KUALA LUMPUR: Le Tour de Femina (LTdF), which was recently postponed, received a substantial shot in the arm after the race unveiled a new US$2.2 million (RM9.24 million) sponsorship deal with international event and strategic business development company, Arya Premier Sdn Bhd on Wednesday.

The inaugural race, which was initially scheduled for Sept 7-12, will now be held on Nov 16-21 as a six-stage UCI 2.2 women's elite event. No reason was given for the postponement of the event.

As the title sponsors, the race will now be known as the Arya Le Tour de Femina with the Malaysian-based company also holding the naming rights for the general classification jersey and best Asian rider jersey.

Arya Premier chief executive officer Zarina Mohd Nor hopes the race will develop into a prestigious event on the Asian women's cycling calendar.

“This (race) is something that we have been considering for a long time, over the past few years actually,” said Zarina during the race launch in Subang.

“We dare to take this risk because we are confident that this event will be a success and will help raise the profile of women's cycling.

“If possible, we want to develop this race to become like Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) in the future.”

Former LTdL organiser Ciclista Sports Sdn Bhd are the organisers of LTdF and the race was actually conceived by them.

Ciclista chief executive officer Shahirudeen Seeni Mohamad said they will unveil the race route soon.

“We are hoping to finalise the race route by next week. We will organise another press conference to make the announcement.” said Shahridueen.

"There will be a surprise in store for the race route."

Shahirudeen disclosed that teams from Australia, China, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand as well as a number of African countries have already confirmed their participation in the race.

He added that each stage will average 120 kilometres but not exceed 140km