Dec 8, 2011
TSG TO TARGET STAGE WINS AT LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI 2012
9 December 2011, KUALA LUMPUR - TERENGGANU Pro-Asia Cycling Team (TSG) is planning their gameplay carefully to ensure their riders who will compete at Le Tour de Langkawi 2012 (LTdL) are ready to meet their target of winning stages and to improve their overall team classification.
With daily schedule packed for training and participation in several national championships, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TSG, Mohd Sophian Abu Bakar said, the management is concentrating on developing the fitness of their riders before the final confirmation in January next year. Among the local tournament the team will compete in December is the National GP in Johor and Kuala Lumpur as well as Pesta Pulau Pinang.
"Upon entering the new year, our riders will enter training camp, we still yet to confirm the location but we won’t rule out the possibility of training in Chiang Mai, Thailand, like last year.“
"What is important now is to ensure that the level of fitness of our riders are in excellent shape before the start of LTdL, from 24 February to 4 March," said Mohd Sophian. According to him, after Hariff Salleh and Anuar Manan missed out several opportunities to win a stage in the 16th edition, TSG hope that it can be fulfilled at LTdL 2012.
Currently, TSG still maintain total 14 riders in the team but did not rule out the possibility of changes to take on new riders when the existing contract ends in December 2011. Mohd Sophian said TSG management also hopes to maintain their four foreign riders, including Japanese veteran, Shinichi Fukushma in the new season.
"It's too early to list the name of the riders as we are due to sign new contracts with the riders when the existing contract ends, but we hope to attract some new local and foreign riders to strengthen the team, especially in the climbs which was still our team’s weakness," he said.
In the 2011 edition, Mat Saufi Mat Senan was the best rider for the team where he ranked 31st overall, only 6 minutes 28 seconds behind yellow jersey winner from Androni team, Jonathan Monsalve. Shahrul Mat Amin placed 37th overall, while in the overall team classification, TSG ranked eighth, clocking in 21 minutes 37 seconds behind overall winner, Tabriz Petrochemical from Iran. With three final stages of the 10 day race finishing in Terengganu, Mohd Sophian hope it provides inspiration for the team to produce encouraging results, especially in front of their home crowd.
LTdL 2012 covers a total distance of 1,410.7 kilometers which will start in Putrajaya, includes finish locations in Cukai in Stage 8 and Kuala Terengganu in Stage 9 and 10. "TSG is not aiming too high, but expects their riders including sprinter, Hariff Salleh who ranked 8th in the points classification in the last edition can make a surprise stage win and improve his overall position.“ he added.
"With only one difficult climb up Genting Highlands next year, TSG will get the opportunity to realize their stage victory in eight other stages. It is too early for us to set the strategy for the race at this time," said Mohd Sophian again.
LTdL 2012 is organised by the National Sports Council as a mark of continuity to the organisation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2010 and 2011 in collaboration with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation. The race maintains a 2.HC (Hors Classe) status and is recognised and sanctioned by the UCI and UCI Asia Tour.
The 10 day race begins on February 24 with Individual time trial along a 20.3 km course in Putrajaya to kick off the race; followed by stage 2 Putrajaya - Melaka (151.0km); Stage 3 Ayer Keroh - Parit Sulong (187.6km); Batu Pahat - Muar (169.4km); Ayer Keroh - Pandan Indah (187.2km); Proton Shah Alam - Genting Highlands (108km); Bentong - Kuantan (215.8km); Pekan - Chukai (100.8km); Kemasik - Kuala Terengganu (169.4km) dan Tasik Kenyir - Kuala Terengganu (116.6km).
LTdL 2012 is expected to feature 22 professional teams including three local teams which are the national team, TSG and LeTua Cycling Team.