ANUAR Manan will make a surprise return to the Jelajah Malaysia for the first time since 2009.
The three-time Jelajah Malaysia points classification winner will join his Champion System teammate Adiq Husainie Othman in the Malaysia Development Team who have been entered for the race by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).
The team will be handled by Pelapis programme coach Grahan Seers and will include Wan Syazwan Afiq Wan Shahril Anuar, Nik Mohd Azwan Zulkiflee and Fakhrudin Daud.
Anuar said both Adiq Husainie and himself had been drafted into the team after being forced to delay their stint in the United States with the Champion System team due to visa issues.
"We will only be leaving for the US on May 26, so this will be a good race to train before we try and produce some results there," said Anuar, 26.
"We have a hectic programme after this, so we will be focusing on some improvements."
Anuar, the local road cyclist with the largest fan base, called on fans not to expect too much from him this time around.
"This race will be about fine-tuning some areas of my riding. I've got a new set-up for the bike as I need to try a different position which hopefully will improve my performance," said Anuar.
"I also need some time to recover from the very hard races I had in Europe before heading to the US. We'll have a race in Estonia at the end of the month before spending the next two months in the US."
Anuar's last race in Europe was the Tour of the Frankfurt Business District in Germany where he failed to finish the race on May 1.
Though there could be a need for Anuar to produce some results in order to remain in contention for one of the two slots for the country in the Olympic road race, the Kuala Terengganu-born believes he has reason to be concerned.
Though the MNCF has yet to announce the two riders for the Olympics, there have been strong indications that the decision has already been made and Anuar isn't part of the plan.
"I believe the MNCF has already made its decision despite the results I've produced. I don't want to get into another argument with the federation," said Anuar.
"I know it will be difficult for me to produce victories this year since we are just making inroads towards racing in Europe and in the US, so I will focus more towards just improving myself.
"If my results can make the MNCF change its mind, so be it. If not, I have to keep on pushing myself to higher levels as a professional." By Arnaz M. Khairul