WHEN Adiq Husainie Othman steps on the starting line for the men's Under-23 road race at the World Road Championships in Florence, Italy on Friday, he will be thinking it is now or never.
It will be the final age group race of Adiq's career and he also wants to bury the ghost of 2011 when he was poised for a top 10 finish before crashing in the final three kilometres of the race in Copenhagen.
The 22-year-old, who rides as a professional with the Champion System Pro Cycling Team, has had a good five-week stint of predominantly one-day races in Europe leading up to the world meet.
He will join Loh Sea Keong in Italy, where the latter will be Malaysia's sole entrant in the men's Elite road race next Sunday.
"I've had good preparation for this task as I've had 10 to 15 one-day races in Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, mostly races on flat routes," said Adiq, who is currently in Belgium.
"I heard that the World Championships course is hilly, so I have to see how the legs go on the day.
"I'm almost out of gas as I've done more than 100 races this year, but going to the World Championships gives me extra motivation to carry on.
"It will be my last race of the season. After that I'll take it easy for a few weeks, then join the national team for the Sea Games preparations if I'm selected."
This will be Adiq's second attempt at the World Championships Under-23 road race, after a last minute withdrawal due to injury saw him miss last year's edition.
The Under-23 road race this time covers 173.9km on a 16km course dotted with three climbs. Only two Malaysians have completed the men's Under-23 World Championships road race -- Ng Yong Li in 2005 and Adiq in 2011. By Arnaz M. Khairul