|Jelajah Malaysia 2013 winner Loh Sea Keong remains optimistic about his chances|
|The OCBC Singapore Team|
KOTA KINABALU, Tuesday 13 August - Loh Sea Keong is a far more recognizable figure around Malaysia after his historic triumph in the Jelajah Malaysia in June, when he became the first Malaysian rider ever to win a UCI Asia Tour race overall title.
The 27-year old has spent the time since his historic win out of the limelight, opting to race in track events in Bangkok in between relaxing on some of the many sun-drenched beaches in Southern Thailand.
But the OCBC Singapore rider remains optimistic about his chances as he heads to Kota Kinabalu to take the start of the second edition of the Tour of Borneo from August 18 to 22.
"It has been just 'R n R' (rest and recovery) for me after the Jelajah Malaysia and the Tour of Borneo is like the first race of the season again," said Sea Keong, who hails from Kuala Krai in Kelantan.
Expectations will be high on Sea Keong's shoulders when he takes to the start of the Tour of Borneo, with many local followers of the sport now looking to him to deliver results after going through what has been the most successful season of his career thus far with two stage wins in the Tours of Singkarak and Thailand coming before he bagged the Jelajah Malaysia overall title.
Sea Keong is, by some margin, Malaysia's most successful cyclist this year.
"I know the expectations are high, but I've not allowed this to get to my head. Another overall win would be hard with the profile of the Tour of Borneo including some hard climbs and there is the likes of Ghader Mizbani and the Tabriz Petrochemical team, who will be strong there," said Sea Keong.
Vital to his victory in the Jeajah Malaysia was the selfless commitment each member of his OCBC Singapore team towards ensuring Sea Keong kept the yellow jersey after taking it on the second stage and the same will be promised this time should the opportunities arise again.
Sea Keong will again have close friend and compatriot Ahmad Haidar Anuawar alongside him in the OCBC team for the Tour of Borneo, along with reliable Singaporeans Goh Choon Huat, Ho Junrong and Low Ji Wen, while the unpredictable and experienced Thai Puchong Saiudomsin completes their squad.
"We'll approach it stage by stage. If the opportunities arise again, I will be up there. For sure, I want another shot at an overall victory," said Sea Keong.
Tour of Borneo Organising chairman Dato’ Fredie Sua is expecting good results from Loh Sea Keong with his OCBC Singapore teammates. “After witnessing his (Sea Keong) amazing performance in Jelajah Malaysia last June, I know they have something great in store for us, we’ll just wait and see.” He added.
OCBC SINGAPORE CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM LINE-UP FOR TOUR OF BORNEO :
LOH Sea Keong (MAS), ANUAWAR Ahmad Haidar (MAS), GOH Choon Huat (SIN), HO Junrong (SIN), LOW Jiwen (SIN) and SIUDOMSIN Phuchong (THA)
The race which will be officiated by Minister of Youth and Sports Sabah, YB Datuk Taufiq DSP Abu Bakar Titingan is scheduled be held from 18th to 22nd August 2013, covering the west coast of Sabah. The 2.2 category Tour is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and is listed in UCI Asian Tour calendar, it is hoped to promote Sabah as the ultimate sports tourism destination in Malaysia, and promote cycling in the state.