Second local continental team set to enter the Tour
Malaysia looks set to have two continental teams in the fray for the first time in the Tour of Langkawi (LTdL) cycling championships.
The Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team were launched in Kuala Terengganu by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said on Monday with an injection of RM1.5mil from the state government.
And they did not take long to submit an application to field a team for the 16th edition of the Tour, which begins on Jan 23 in Langkawi.
Leading the list of nine Malaysian cyclists in the squad are Anuar Manan, Mohd Harrif Salleh and Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin.
The notable foreign riders in the side are 2007 winner Shinichi Fukushima of Japan and Phuchong Udomsin of Thailand.
The LTdL chief executive officer, Mohamad Salleh, said that if all went well, there would be at least 12 Malaysian riders in the Tour with the inclusion of the latest continental team.
“International rules for road racing state that a continental team must have at least three local riders,” he said.
“The Le Tua team should be doing likewise and in the national team, we will have six riders.
“As organisers, we are proud to have a bigger local representation in a prestigious event like the LTdL.
“It’s good for the development of road race cycling in the country as the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) have a bigger pool to choose from for main championships next year, including the Asian meet in Korat and the SEA Games in Indonesia.”
Mohamed is optimistic that Terengganu Pro-Asia have what it takes to spring surprises in the LTdL.
Anuar will be defending the green jersey (sprint) this year.
“We want him to retain the green jersey and at least match his achievement of winning a stage,” he said.
The 10-stage Tour, which ends on Feb 1 at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, is organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry and the MNCF.
The organisers have taken up a suggestion by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to bring the Tour back to its starting point in Langkawi.
THE STAR, 22/12/2010