Azizul brings peerless pedals to Berlin

  • Cycling
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2020

One of a kind: Coach John Beasley guiding Azizul during training at the National Velodrome in Nila yesterday. — Bernama

NILAI: Cutting edge technology, full carbon saddle and an integrated handlebar and stem. Those are just some of the features of the estimated £60,000 (RM300,000) bike that world No. 1 ranked keirin cyclist Azizulhasni Awang will ride at Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

The bike – the most expensive in the world – that Azizul will debut from Feb 27-March 1, is not even the final product.

It will only get better before the Tokyo Olympics in August.

Azizul, Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Mohd Fadhil Zonis have qualified for the world meet this year in their respective pet events and will be leaving for Germany this Sunday.

Track coach John Beasley confirmed that the Terengganu-born cyclist will be using the new bike for the world meet but it is not the end product.

The world meet will be the final qualification event for track cycling for the Olympics.

The Malaysian track cycling squad have been working in collaboration with Vorteq, a research and development company based in Silverstone and specialising in sports aerodynamics, to prepare the WXR Vorteq bike.

The cost for a made-to-order bike can go up to £60,000 and the Malaysian team wanted to make sure theirs was out of the reach of their rivals.

“There will be a launch of the project by the Youth and Sports Minister (Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman) next month but we will be testing out the bike at the world championships first.

“The bike we are testing will not be the end product. It is only a prototype although it has received the go-ahead from the world cycling body (UCI).

“It will be refined further as we see what we need to improve on. Azizul will be using the final product only in Tokyo.

“Like everybody else aiming to win at the Olympics, we are looking at the marginal gains through research and innovation,” said Beasley, who guided Azizul to the world title in Hong Kong in 2017.

Funding for the project started right after the 2016 Rio Olympics when Azizul became the first Malaysian cyclist to finish on the Olympic podium, winning a bronze.

It was the second time Azizul had reached the Olympics keirin final.

Azizul is looking forward to his first competitive meet of the year.

“My preparation was hampered after injuring my shoulder in a crash at the Track World Cup leg in Brisbane, Australia, in early December but I think I am about 80% recovered.

“I am optimistic I can be in good condition there as I want to do my best to be on the podium again,” said Azizul, who has claimed five career world championship medal.

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