National cyclists crossing the finish line in Tutong at the 2011 Tour de Brunei. The national cycling team are set to compete at the inaugural Tour of Sarawak 2016 next month. Picture: BT file
THE national cycling team are set to compete at the inaugural Tour of Sarawak 2016 next month.
The five-day cycling event will see 20 teams from hosts Malaysia, Australia, China, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Africa, South Korea and the Philippines compete in the March 16-20 tournament. The country will be represented by Abdul Hadrie Morsidi, Mohammad Rafiuddin Zikara Mohd Shahrom Ayub Hj Yakob, Andrew Mikha Sianong, Reduan Yusop and Lance Low.
Talking to The Brunei Times yesterday, national cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin is expecting a good performance from his team. “My target for the team is to at least finish in the top half of the group,” he said at the Sports Medicine and Research Centre (SMRC) at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
“We have never raced or cycled around that area before, but we have driven through that route when we went to Kuching so we know the kind of route we are going to race in. I don’t think there will be challenging climb in any of the five stages, so my expectations are really high as the route is mostly flat. “However, despite that I still believe it’s going to be tough as the race has a very long distance, especially in Stage 1 and Stage 2.
“Furthermore, since this is the first edition of the race, there will be a lot of professional riders joining,” Yafiz continued. According to the official website, the whole race holds a total of 814 kilometres which will start from Miri to Bintulu with 201km in the first stage, followed by the longest route which runs from Bintulu to Sibu (217km).
The next route will see the cyclists travel from Sarikei-Betong (111km) before travelling from Sri Aman-Serian (131km) and ending with the Sematan-Kuching route (105km). “Due to the long distance, our riders will need to perform from the beginning of the tournament,” said the national coach. “They need to suffer and give their all in the first two stages, because if they can secure a top ranking in the first two stages for the overall classification, they can be safe until the last race.
“Hopefully this race can set the tone for the other races this year and also serve as a benchmark for next year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia,” he concluded. The event is organised by Fadz Industries Sdn Bhd in collaboration with Rakan BN Sarawak and sanctioned by Union Cycliste International (UCI).