Tuesday January 15, 2013
National cyclists confident of shining in LTdL with new kit
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
KUALA LUMPUR: The national road cycling team have ditched the tiger stripes on their jersey starting with the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Feb 21-March 2.
But the team are still hoping to compete in the prestigious race with the same bravado like they did wearing the tiger-striped jersey.
The team will wear the new jersey, courtesy of homegrown company Ciclista, in all International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned races across Asia.
National time trial champion Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, Mohd Nor Rizuan Zainal, Mohd Rauf Nur Misbah, Ahmad Fakhrullah Alias, Mohd Ekbar Zaman Huri and London Olympian Amir Mustafa Rusli make up the team for the LTdL this year.
Donning the colourful jersey, which harks back to glory days of M. Kumaresan and Nor Effandy Rosli in the 1990s, the national team are hoping to finish the gruelling race in the top three among the Asian teams.
“And if we work hard enough, we can look to finish in the top 10 in the team general classification this year,” said team coach Aminuddin Sulaiman after the unveiling of the new team kit at the LTdL headquarters in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Last year, the team had a tough time. They finished sixth among the Asian teams and 16th overall.
“The cyclists have been clocking up the mileage diligently after our the original plan to send them to Kunming, China, for training in December was cancelled,” said Aminuddin.
Team leader Fauzan is looking forward to a good outing after wrapping up the National Cycling Grand Prix time trial title in Malacca in December.
“It will be a tough Tour as there are five Pro Tour teams. And some of them are bringing in the big guns. But we will focus on the task at hand and tackle it day by day,” said the 27-year-old.
The five Pro Tour sides are Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Blanco, Astana and Orica-GreenEdge.
The LTdL will visit its home in Langkawi on Feb 20 for team presentation before the race proper starts in Kangar. The race will once again end in Kuala Terengganu.