KOTA KINABALU: A clash of two neighbouring countries – Iran and Azerbaijan – is expected to set off the fireworks in the second edition of the Tour of Borneo, which begins here Sunday.
Iranian outfit Tabriz Petrochemical are sending their big guns in the hope of clinching the the overall title and have brought along former UCI Asia Tour overall winners Ghader Mizbani, Hossein Askari and Mehdi Sohrabi. Also in the line-up are Hossein Nateghi, Mirsamad Poursayedi and Alireza Ashgarzadeh.
Although new to the cycling scene, Azerbaijan outfit Synergy Baku Cycling will be seeking to deny the Iranians and will be counting on David Clarke of Britain as their main contender in the overall classification.
Clarke will be assisted by Danish rider John Ebsen, Aleksandar Surutkovych, Agshin Ismayilov (Azerbaijan), Rico Rogers (Australia) and local sprinter Anuar Manan.
Synergy Baku are hoping to end their jinx of winning the opening stages but losing out the overall title, having experienced such misfortune in the Tour of Taiwan (April), Tour of Thailand (April) and Jelajah Malaysia (May).
Tour of Borneo organising chairman Datuk Fredie Sua was delighted with the level of the field on show this year.
“This is proof that the race is slowly gaining recognition amongst the top teams in Asia as they are bringing their best riders here,” he said.
The race is expected to be decided in Stage Four, which will end at the foot of Mount Kinabalu in Kundasang with elevation of 1,249m above sea level.
Did you find this article insightful?