PETALING JAYA: The criterium and 120km road race in Bandung last week, the final tune-up for the national cycling team before the Tour of Langkawi which starts on Feb 6, proved very useful as it revealed the strength of Asian competition rivals Wismilak Cycling Team.
The Wismilak Cycling Team riders Tonton Susanto, Samai, Matnur Matnur and Wawan Setyobudi took part in the Bandung competition.
Team manager Amrun Misnoh said: “Since all the Indonesian riders taking part in the Tour were there, we were able to collect some information on them.”
The Malaysian riders also managed respectable results in Bandung, with Mohd Sayuti Zahid finishing second in the criterium and Wan Najmi Wan Ahmad managing fourth place in the road race.
Matnur of the Wismilak team won the criterium.
“Under the circumstances, it was a good result. We had only six riders competing while there were 80 Indonesian riders.”
Besides, Mohd Sayuti and Wan Najmi, the four other riders who competed were Shahrulneeza Razali, Nor Effandy Rosli, Musairi Musa and Mohd Mahazir Hamad.
“The Indonesians used blocking tactics on our stronger riders such as Shahrulneeza, Musairi and Mohd Mahazir. They did not pay much attention to the lesser known Mohd Sayuti and Wan Najmi. That was why the two managed a respectable results for the team,” said Amrun.
Climber Tonton is the most experienced rider in the Wismilak team. He was formerly with the Taiwan-based Giant Asia Racing Team.
Samai, Matnur and Wawan are sprinters.
The 30-year old Tonton, who first won the Asian title in 1998, has been a regular with Team Telekom Malaysia for the past two years and was the toast of the team when the composite outfit won the Asian title last year.
Tonton emerged as champion in the Asian overall competition but had to play second fiddle to Japan's Tomoya Kano this year.
Wawan and Samai won the gold medal in the team pursuit event in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 2001.
ENTRIES SO FAR FOR THE TOUR.
Trade One: Lampre (Ita), Mr Bookmaker.com-Collstrop Palmans (Bel), Chocolade Jacques-Wincor-Nixdorf (Bel), De Nardi Colpack (Ita).
Trade Two: Panaria Margres (Ita), Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave (Ita), Team Barloworld (Rsa), Colombia Selle Italia (Col).
Trade Three: Wismilak Cycling (Ina), Health Net (US).
National teams: Iran, Canada, Ireland, China, Japan, Malaysia.