PETALING JAYA: Top local outfit Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) have retained 90% of their riders from last year to ensure a strong showing at the 2020 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Feb 7-14.
The team will be anchored by the 2018 yellow jersey (overall individual) winner Artem Ovechkin of Russia, local star Mohd Hariff Salleh, Algerian sprinter Yousef Reguigui, Morey Drew (Australia), Metkel Eyob (Eritrea) and national champion Nur Amirul Fakhruddin Mazuki.
The east coast team are currently in a three-week training camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand, after competing in the Cambodia Bay Cycling Tour from Jan 4-6.
TSG Chief Operating Officer (COO) Nasiruddin Wan Idrus said that, being a Malaysian based team, they aimed to do well in the home race and retain their status as a top cycling team in Asia.
TSG picked up a total of 2,658 points after 42 races to take top spot in the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour and to be ranked 28th in the world. However, they finished ninth in the LTdL last year.
Terengganu local Mohd Hariff Salleh was their best rider last year when he finished third in the King of Sprints classifications.
“We were the No.1 Asian team in 2019, so the other teams in the region will be out to overtake us... you can see more European riders joining Asian teams, making the competition tougher, ” said Nasiruddin.
“We are a local team competing in the LTdL and we want to win it because of national pride... we will continue with our formula of blending international and local riders.
“In the last two editions of the LTdL, our riders, both local and foreign, managed to finish on the podium so I believe we have the quality.”
The 25th edition of the LTdL will be an eight-stage race covering a total distance of about 1,096km across nine states including Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Federal Territories (Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur) Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah.
“The LTdL is the first pro series race for our team and we are looking to compete in around 40 races this year.
“We hope to get off to a winning start to set the mood for the 2020 season, ” he added.
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