Cyclists get chance to shake off rust after 18 months in Cali meet

PETALING JAYA: National back-up cyclists have some racing to look forward to finally at the Track Cycling Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia after two years of non-action.

The Colombian city is hosting the final round of the Nations Cup starting today and Malaysia will have 13 cyclists contesting the sprint and endurance events on the track.

Ridwan Sahrom, the younger brother of Olympian Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom, will ride in the team sprint along with Amar Danial Masri, Mohd Fariz Haikal Kadir and Ahmad Safwan Ahmad Nazeri.

They have also entered for the sprint, keirin and 1km time trial.

The riders for the track endurance events (individual pursuit, team pursuit, omnium and madison) are Mohd Hissham Abdul Rauf, Azim Aliyas, Mohd Amir Farhan Haizeman, Mohd Hakimi Nor and Zulhelmi Zainal.

Anis Amira Rosidi is the only national elite rider in the fray and she will contest in the sprint, keirin and time trial.

The other women cyclists for Cali are Nor Aisyah Munirah Chek Ramli, Emylia Nurqadrina Norzali and Nur Aisyah Mohd Zubir.

National track coach John Beasley, who supported the proposal to send the riders to South America for their first international meet in almost two years, said the main objective was for them to get good race experience.

“Most haven’t raced for a very long time, so this is a kickstart for next season,” said Beasley.

“I really feel for the athletes as the Covid-19 pandemic has really slowed down their progression as all young athletes need to race a lot in order to get better but that has not happened for more than 18 months now.

“The only way to gain experience is to race, that’s why we have sent them there.

“Next year is another big year with Commonwealth and Asian Games, World Championships, Nations Cup events and also the Asian Championships, so the riders need a head start,” said Beasley, who was also thankful to Sime Darby Foundation for their continued support to the cycling programme.

“Sime Darby Foundation are funding Anis to be in Cali. They have been extremely supportive with helping us develop our next generation of world class performers.”

The Cali round was twice postponed because of the pandemic situation. The opening round in United Kingdom was cancelled but Mohd Fadhil Zonis and Anis managed to make the podium when they took part in the Hong Kong round in May.

Fadhil took gold in keirin and silver in 1km time trial while Anis claimed bronze in the 500m time trial.

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