CYCLING / TOUR OF TAIWAN: Defending champions yet to confirm taking part
THE Jelajah Malaysia on May 8-13 will be limited to just 20 teams, with 12 thus far confirmed, but defending UCI Asia Tour overall champions Tabriz Petrochemical aren't yet part of it.
Also yet to be confirmed are three foreign teams who have Malaysian riders on their books who are not on the preliminary list of 12 teams, led by Australia's Genesys Pro Cycling.
Sports Ministry secretary general Datuk Mohid Mohamed said the race will have increased support from the ministry with cost-cutting measures serving to make the event more sustainable.
"Limiting the number of teams has also helped to reduce the cost. With this, the quality of the teams entering the race also has to be ensured," said Mohid.
He was speaking at the Jelajah Malaysia teams announcement yesterday, also attended by Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Abu Samah Wahab, his deputy Datuk Naim Mohamad and Jelajah Malaysia organising chairman Maniam Manikkam.
Abu Samah announced that the MNCF will not be fielding the national team in the race so as to give state and club teams the opportunity to race with their top riders.
But Abu Samah later stated the MNCF is considering fielding the national under-23 squad in the race.
Naim, who is also Jelajah Malaysia chief operating officer, said Iranian outfit Tabriz Petrochemical have been invited, but the team are yet to confirm their attendance, citing a hectic schedule on the UCI Asia Tour calendar this year.
"As defending Asia Tour champions, they automatically earn the right to enter each race unless they themselves decide otherwise. We definitely want them to come," said Naim.
China's Champion System feature Anuar Manan and Adiq Husainie Othman, Australia's Drapac Cycling have Amir Mustafa Rusli on their books, and Iran's Azad University with Ng Yong Li.
"We are awaiting Champion System's and Drapac's response, while I've stressed to the technical committee that Azad University too have to be invited," said Naim.
Loh Sea Keong and Ahmad Haidar Anuawar are thus far the only foreign-based riders who are confirmed to have a spot as their OCBC Singapore team are on the confirmed list of 12 teams.
Other teams on the list prior to the April 14 closing date for registration are Aisan Racing Team (Jpn), LBC Cycling (Phi), Kazakhstan, Terengganu Cycling Team, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Police and Armed Forces. By Arnaz M. Khairul