NO FAVOURS: MNCF delivers 'good route' for Jelajah Malaysia
HAVING previously been accused of setting up race routes to favour local riders, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) has set the Jelajah Malaysia on May 8-13 for the best riders.
Organising chairman Maniam Manikkam said though the race this time features climbs no harder than a category two climb that passes Bukit Sumpitan in Kedah on the second stage, the distance of stages through varying terrain will offer a different kind of challenge.
"With two stages over 190 kilometres in distance and one that's over 200 kilometres, the race is tough enough," said Maniam, who is also MNCF vice president and head of its technical and competitions committee.
The race, run with a total budget of RM1.6 million with a total prize package of RM139,280 up for grabs, will feature 20 teams, including nine local teams who will challenge for the 100 Plus Malaysian riders' jersey which was presented yesterday.
The 100 Plus white jersey, to be adorned by the leader of the Malaysian riders' classification in the race, was presented by F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Berhad corporate affairs manager Cariessa Goh.
Although the MNCF has opted not to field a national team in the race, all the top local riders apart from Champion System's Anuar Manan and Adiq Husainie Othman, and OCBC Singapore's Loh Sea Keong, are set to start the race.
OCBC will, however, feature another Malaysian, Ahmad Haidar Anuawar in the race.
Terengganu will be represented by two teams -- UCI Continental outfit Terengganu Cycling Team and a team representing the state association.
"It will be a nice contest between some of the top teams in the region and the top riders from our country. We're also trying to avoid criticism about the routes we choose for this race," said Maniam.
"In the past, people criticised us about the routes, saying that we designed it to favour riders like Anuar Manan or Harrif Salleh, but there was no such thing.
"We did our best to provide a good route this time on the budget constraints that we have and definitely, the race is set up for the best riders to win. If our rider do win, it will be on merit."
The race (May 8-13) -- Stage One: 161.5km from Merdeka Stadium to Bandar Baru Kampar, Stage Two: 201.8km from Kampar to Kulim, Stage Three: 168.8km from Kulim to Felda Chuping, Stage Four: 115.6km from Kangar to Sungai Petani, Stage Five: 194.9km from Sungai Petani to Ipoh, Stage Six: 199.5km from Ipoh to Merdeka Square.
Teams: Tabriz Petrochemical (Irn), Genesys Pro Cycling (Aus), Aisan Racing Team (Jpn), OCBC Singapore Continental Team (Sin), CCN Cycling Team (Bru), RTS Racing Team (Tpe), Suren Uzbekistan Team (Uzb), Terengganu Cycling Team (Mas), Pure Black Racing (Nzl), LBC Cycling (Phi), Polygon-Sweet Nice (Ina), Kazakhstan, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Terengganu, Police, Armed Forces.