IN FORM: Best Malaysian sprinter in LTdL not in team for New Delhi
THERE won't be any changes to the elite national men's team for the road events at the Asian Cycling Championships (ACC) in New Delhi next week despite Anuar Manan seemingly on a hot streak of form.
National coach Aminudin Sulaiman said his focus now will be on keeping the quintet of Harrif Saleh, Zamri Saleh, Amir Mustafa Rusli, Mohd Rauf Nor Misbah and Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi out of trouble and in good shape.
"All of them have just completed Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) and Zamri is one concern that I have because he was totally exhausted after the final stage and needs sufficient time to recover," said Aminudin yesterday.
Though Anuar, 26, kept his promise to finish LTdL with an impact and show he is back on form, Aminudin said the deadline for registration has passed, with no changes allowed.
Anuar managed five top 10 finishes in the 18th edition of LTdL and finished third overall in the points classification, the best performance by a Malaysian sprinter in the race.
"Even if I wanted to include Anuar on a special request, the decision would not be up to me.
"It is the MNCF (Malaysian National Cycling Federation) selection committee that decides," said Aminudin.
"Right now, I just want to get on with it. We leave for India on the 11th and I have to work with the riders we have."
Brothers Harrif and Zamri will be counted on should the road race on March 17 finish in a bunch sprint or for them to be part of a large breakaway group that sprint to the finish.
"The route is a flat one, so we need Harrif and Zamri to pay special attention. But the Asian Championships road races seldom finish in bunch sprints even on flat routes, so we need to see who can work at it in a breakaway," said Aminudin.
"Harrif and Zamri will just have to wait it out and if their chance comes in a bunch sprint, then we have an advantage."
Harrif, Zamri, Amir and Rauf are registered for the road race, while Fauzan is due to contest the individual time trial on March 13.
Malaysia has never won a gold medal in the men's or women's elite road event since the Asian Championships began in 1963.
Adiq Husainie Othman produced a silver medal in the men's under-23 road race, contested for the first time in Putrajaya last year, but many are expecting the elite men's squad to end a medal drought that began in 1971.
Noor Azian Alias won Malaysia's last medal in a road event, taking the silver in the road race in Bangkok in 2007, while the last men's medal came from Omar Saad, a bronze in the road race in Singapore in 1971.