Sprinter Izzat excels at Tour of Thailand, claims first podium for MPC

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Pro Cycling (MPC) have not taken long to taste success at the international level.

The continental side, which were only formed in August, secured their maiden podium finish in a UCI-level tour at the Tour of Thailand (UCI 2.1) today.

Despite losing three teammates to a crash 5km from the finish, MPC sprinter Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil was able to secure a third place finish in the 131km opening stage from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai Historical Park.

Roojai Insurance's Lucas Carstensen took the win in three hours and 16 seconds, while LX Cycling Team's Park Sang-hong settled for second in the bunch sprint.

Terengganu Cycling Team's Irwandie Lakasek finished fourth.

Izzat had only signed with MPC in January, though had previously been on the books with MPC's predecessor Team Sapura Cycling from 2017 to 2019.

MPC team principal Sayuti Zahit was optimistic of securing more podium finishes later in the tour.

The Tour of Thailand is their first UCI-level tour since being formed.

"It was a great start for both the team as well as Izzat," said Sayuti when contacted in Thailand today.

"Based on his performance today, we believe he can fight for more podium finishes in this tour.

"There are at least two or three more stages which will be suitable for him here.

"Unfortunately, three of our riders crashed today. However, they were lucky not to sustain any serious injuries.

"They will be able to start the second stage tomorrow."

Izzat was also the best Southeast Asian rider in today's stage.

The three MPC riders who crashed were Ahmad Syazrin Awang Ilah, Fahmi Khairul and Syawal Mazlin.

Tomorrow's second stage will start and end at Sukhothai Historical Park and will be the longest of the tour at 202.3km.

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