HE'S BACK: Wins three out of four stages with Brunei-registered CCN Cycling Team
IF there were doubts about Anuar Manan's promise that he is back to conquer the UCI Asia Tour, they were blasted off the planet when he bagged his third win out of four stages in the Tour of Poyang Lake in China yesterday.
Riding on loan with Brunei-registered CCN Cycling Team, with his Synergy-Baku Cycling Project team taking an early off-season, Anuar dismissed any suggestion of his form leading to a last minute call-up for the Sea Games.
"I have forgotten about that, put it totally out of my mind. I can't let that bother me as I have to now put all my focus into the UCI Asia Tour," said Anuar who was snubbed by the national cycling federation which claimed that its Sea Games strategy could do without him.
Taking the Tour of Poyang Lake by storm is just part of Anuar's preparations, but he has shown his improved versatility in the various stages that he has won in the race thus far.
From the opening stage win on an undulating course, to a win on the hilly route around the Longhu Mountain on the third stage on Monday, then victory again in yesterday's 84 kilometre criterium in Fuzhou, Anuar has started the season on fire.
"I am only thinking about Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) in February.
"Now I am at just 70 per cent of where my form should be, but it's good that I am winning a few stages," said Anuar.
Still Malaysia's only ever stage winner in LTdL, with his sole stage win in the UCI 2.HC status race coming in 2010, Anuar wants 2014 to be the year when he returns to the throne as Asia's undisputed top sprinter, which he was once reputed to be.
"I was really disrupted by the back injury, but now although there is still some pain, I am able to put maximum effort on the bike," said Anuar, who returned in August from a lengthy lay-off marred by poor form and a back injury.
"I'm still undergoing therapy for the injury, but soon it will be all good.
"We have another three stages in this race, so I am still looking for more victories. After that we head straight to a one-day race here.
"It's a tough early season schedule, but it will be good preparation for LTdL. So, please don't remind me about the Sea Games. I'm not concerned about why I'm not selected and I want to move on. It's no big deal."