In the 20 years that le tour de langkawi has been held, only one malaysian has ever won a stage. Success has been elusive for malaysians in their home race, a showcase for the country on the international stage.
In 2010, Anuar Manan, riding for Geumsan Ginseng Asia, won a single stage, as well as the blue jersey for the points classification. This single stage victory for Malaysians was celebrated, and rightly so, but in that time, consistent podium finishes in international standard races have been few and far between. Certainly, Malaysian riders are respected regionally, and provide strong showings at the Pro Continental level.
It can’t be denied that Malaysian riders play to their strengths, and that is in sprinting. The roster of winning Malaysian sprinters is long, but many prefer to stay in the velodrome, where their strengths come to the fore, instead of road racing, which calls for a very different skill set and level of endurance.
It can be seen that many Malaysian talents in cycling are beginning to surface, not just in road racing, but also in mountain biking and other cycling disciplines. To that end, aside from the Malaysian National Team entering the 2015 LTdL, Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) and NSC (National Sports Council) also fielded teams that acquitted themselves well in this year’s race.
The road to a Malaysian winning the LTdL will be long and hard, but there are emerging talents, notably amongst the youngsters, who show great promise. It remains to be seen if those talents can be properly nurtured and developed by the sports bodies concerned, notably the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). But with discipline, training and hard work, such a goal is not out of reach.
Here is a summary of the three Malaysian teams in the 2015 LTdL.
MALAYSIAN NATIONAL TEAM
The Malaysian National Team has always been represented in the LTdL by virtue of automatic entry. While their results have been less than sterling over the history of the tour, this year’s team showed a lot of fighting spirit.
Directeur Sportif Firdaus Arshad opted for a mix of seasoned veterans and young blood for the 2015 LTdL. Team Captain Suhardi Hassan was prominent in previous editions of the race. This year, the fighting spirit of the Malaysian team was apparent, in spite of bad crashes suffered by several team members in stages 2 and 3. Loh Sea Keong led several breakaways in the early stages of the LTdL, and was always near the front. The Jalur Gemilang was proudly carried by the team this year, and while success eludes them, their positive outlook bodes well for the future. With the help of sponsors such as 720 Armour, the Malaysian National Team is certainly capable of much more.
Directeur Sportif: Firdaus Arshad
Team Captain: Suhardi Hassan
Mohd Faruq Daud
Mohd Izzat Hilmi
Mohd Ameer Ahmad Kamal
Mohd Ameen Ahmad Kamal
Loh Sea Keong
NATIONAL SPORTS COUNCIL OF MALAYSIA
Development of cycling as a sport in Malaysia took a boost some years ago with the formation of the National Sports Council. Responsible for identifying young talents, most of their previous races were at a local or regional level. 2015 is the NSC team’s first foray into true international pro-level racing.
This nascent team from the National Sports Council got their blooding this year. DS Afiz Ikmal was realistic about the chances of the team when asked during their sponsorship launch with Rudy Project in February. He pointed out that the NSC team was comprised mainly of juniors with Amir Mustafa providing a leadership role as senior rider. However, the role of the NSC, and rightly so, is to provide a feeder team of junior talents for the senior teams, and LTdL was a way of giving them real racing experience. The NSC relies strongly on external sponsors to bring their equipment to pro level, and contributions from companies such as Rudy Project help.
Directeur Sportif: Afiz Ikmal Adenan
Team Captain: Amir Mustafa
Sofian Nabil Omar
Mohd Zawawi Azman
Nik Mohd Azwan
Mohd Fairet Rusli
TERENGGANU CYCLING TEAM (TSG)
Terengganu Cycling Team, more popularly known as TSG, is popular with local fans, and with good reason. Anuar Manan, along with team mates Zamri and Harrif, are strong sprinters, and very approachable to fans. Their string of successes continues to build, with development in the squad coming from a large pool of aspiring riders from Terengganu.
TSG opened the LTdL well with Anuar Manan taking third
on the podium for the 1st stage in Langkawi. Samseng Brothers Zamri and Harrif worked well together and with the rest of the team for some good placing within the peloton, although Anuar’s early success was not to be repeated in later stages. The later stages saw the team suffering the after effects of earlier crashes, but continued to show strongly throughout.
Directeur Sportif: Danny Feng
Team Captain: Mohd Zamri Saleh
Mohd Saiful Anuar
Adiq Husaini Othman
Goh Choon Huat