WHEN M. Kumaresan was Malaysia's biggest cycling star in the 1980s, he could only dream of watching live coverage of the Tour de France.
The 46-year-old, who now runs a company that focuses on cycling events, said: "Seriously, if you look back just 10 or 15 years ago, you can hardly imagine what we have now. Just getting to watch the race live on television was something unimaginable.
Kumaresan, who was the 1987 Malaysian Sportsman of the Year, added: "When I was training in Germany, it was such a pleasure to get to watch all the races live on TV.
"It was there that I came to know about this channel, Eurosport.
"Back here we had to struggle. Initially I remember we had to go onto the Eurosport website to read live text updates on the race.
"Now, we not only look forward to live coverage, we also have a rider who we can expect to compete in the Tour de France in three or four years."
He pointed to 21-year-old Adiq Husainie Othman, the professional rider with China's Champion System team, who will make his Olympic debut next month.
The duo are sports network Eurosport's ambassadors and on Thursday, graced the launch of the network's live coverage of the 99th Tour de France which begins today.
"It is a great opportunity for the now huge cycling fan base in the country to watch the biggest race. For me it is something I've dreamed of since I was a kid," said Adiq Husainie, who leaves for Belgium to prepare for the Olympics on Monday.
"Thankfully, the race starts in Belgium and for sure I'll be going to catch a glimpse of the race as soon as I can.
"For now, that's the plan but I've set myself a target of making it to the Tour de France in three years."
Kumaresan is split between BMC Racing's defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia and Luxembourg's Franck Schleck of the Radioshack-Nissan team in picking the winner for the overall title this time around.
Adiq Husainie's pick is Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, who he believes has what it takes to become the first British rider to win the overall title.
Daily live coverage of every stage of the 99th Tour de France begins on Eurosport today. By Arnaz M. Khairul