FOR Singaporean cyclist Mohamad Elyas Mohamed Yusof, coming in second in the first ever Sentul Race Series recently was a memorable birthday gift as he turned 17 two days after the race.
Elyas travelled to Kuala Lumpur with his father to participate in the time trial that took riders from Jalan Sentul to a two-lap 25km route along roads such as the Sentul Link, Mahameru Highway, Jalan Duta and Jalan Ipoh.
“There are no road races in Singapore so I travel about once a month to different countries to participate,” he said.
Elyas finished in a time of 36:31, 45 seconds behind fellow Singaporean rider Nick Swallow.
Swallow, a British national working and residing in Singapore, clocked 35:46 in what he described as a tough but enjoyable race.
“When you’re racing in a pack, you can sit beside someone and the aerodynamics of it will help keep you going. In this time trial, you can’t tell how fast you’re going compared to the other guys.
“It was a beautiful route though, and I enjoyed the scenery. It was great that the race was in the city because most road races usually take place outside the city. The marshalling was good and riders were kept safe,” he said.
Organised by FHL Sports Sdn Bhd with the support of the National Sports Council, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Royal Malaysia Police and Malaysian National Cycling Federation, the first leg of the race series was open to amateur cyclists between the ages of 16 and 50.
FHL Sports founder and race director Mark Cheong said the series would see the introduction of a ranking system where the results from the time trial would be used as the first benchmark to place cyclists in different categories.
There will be three categories for men (A, B and C) and one for women.
“Immediately after the end of this race series in November 2013, each cyclist in the database will be re-assessed according to the true merits of ability and performance,” said Cheong.
He said there was a dedicated category for women because there had been an increase in the number of women taking up cycling seriously.
“As such, a women’s category was specially created to encourage and motivate them to compete and enjoy the exposure. The women cyclists clocked in very encouraging results today, and we hope to see more of them in our next series,” he said.
The next four stages of the series are the Race Circuit (Aug 25), Criterium (Sept 21), King of Mountain (Nov 2) and the Bonus Stage (Nov 3), which will be the first-ever bicycle race up a parking lot at the Lot 10 shopping centre.
YTL Communications deputy chief executive officer Jacob Yeoh said YTL Land & Development Bhd was one of the sponsors for the race as part of its plans for urban revival in the Sentul area.
“We are trying to change the landscape of this area and bring in more activities.
“We are also trying to revive the cycling culture that was very much a part of Sentul back in the 1980s,” he said.