IT will be a relatively star-studded Malaysia Games cycling programme with the likes of former Asian junior champion Arfy Qhairant Amran and Ummi Hamimah Mohamad making their way to Temerloh.
The 19-year-old Arfy takes a break from the elite national track squad's training in Melbourne with the burden of delivering Malacca's targeted three gold medals from cycling resting heavily on his shoulders.
Arfy will compete in the 200m sprint, 1km time trial, criterium and the BMX supercross, which will be making its Malaysia Games debut.
"We're targeting the sprint, 1km time trial and the criterium. We're well prepared. It's only the criterium that I'm a bit worried about," said Arfy, who delivered Malacca's first cycling gold medal since 2004 when he won the keirin in last year's Malaysia Games in Kuala Lumpur.
While he starts as the hot favourite to land both gold medals in the sprint and 1km time trial, track events which will be held on open roads as Pahang do not have a velodrome, the criterium will prove more tricky.
This is because of the expected strength of the Terengganu contingent which will have their charge led by national back-up riders Sofian Nabil Omar Bakri and Zulhilmie Afif Ahmad Zamri.
"We have a plan to beat Terengganu in the criterium and our young team have been better prepared with a more structured training programme this time around," said Arfy.
Sofian Nabil and the Terengganu team have their sights set on the 157km road race next Wednesday, which the 19-year-old believes will be the best event on the programme.
"It will be an exciting road race this time around because all states have been gearing up for this. Everybody wants to win the road race," said Sofian Nabil.
"We have a strong team, but we'll have to make sure we have the right strategy. Definitely I hope to be there, but anything can happen."
Cycling begins today with practice runs for the downhill mountain bike competition in Temerloh. By Arnaz M. Khairul