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CYCLING: Sea Keong vows to shine


MALAYSIAN fans can finally tune in to live coverage of the World Championships men's elite road race in Florence, Italy, next Sunday in an expectant mood with Loh Sea Keong promising a show of his own.

   Sea Keong and Adiq Husainie Othman will be the country's two representatives in Florence, with the former given his third shot at the Under-23 road race.

   But it is Sea Keong's eagerness, and the fact that he usually remains true to his word and work ethic, that should have the fans buzzing.

   It will not matter that reigning world champion Phillipe Gilbert of Belgium has openly stated he's eyeing a repeat triumph, while Slovak star Peter Sagan is in explosive form leading to Florence, winning the one-day Montreal GP in Canada in style.

   Even the 272km  distance of the road race to be clocked in around a tough 16.5km course in the middle of Florence is something the Malaysians will be looking at in anticipation.

   The  27-year-old from Kuala Krai, who enters the race as the sole wearer of the Malayan Tiger kit,  has promised not to be a bit part player.

   He has  even vowed to attack for a win should the opportunity arise.

   "The mission will, first,  be to survive and complete the race. We will have to see what sort of opportunities the race provides.

   "I haven't had a look at the route yet, but I know it is hilly and it will be tough," said Sea Keong.

   Sea Keong and Adiq Husainie were only confirmed for the world meet on Tuesday, following efforts by national head coach John Beasley to gain approval of a budget to send the pair to Italy from the National Sports Council (NSC).

   It will be Sea Keong's first assignment in the Tiger stripes since his controversial ejection from the national squad ahead of the 2009 Sea Games in Vientiane.

   "This is like an opportunity of a lifetime for me and I am going there to ride my heart out till it's dry.

          "I will give everything," said Sea Keong, who gained fame among local fans for his fearless and aggressive approach to racing.

   This will only be Malaysia's second appearance in the men's elite World Championships road race after qualifying for the first time last year, while the Under-23 category has had Malaysian presence since 2005.

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