Sprinter Izzat shows strong potential, LTdL the target

KUALA LUMPUR: Sprinter Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halim has immediately proven himself to be a quality signing for Malaysia Pro Cycling (MPC).

Izzat, who joined the UCI continental side in January, scored three podium finishes (stage one, two and six) to win the green jersey at the Tour of Thailand (points classification) which ended yesterday.

MPC also scored a podium finish in the UCI 2.1 level tour through Zulfikri Zulkifli (fifth stage).

The Tour of Thailand was also MPC's first UCI-level tour since being formed in August. They had previously competed in a number of non-UCI races and tours. MPC is the successor of the now-defunct Team Sapura Cycling.

MPC team principal Sayuti Zahit, who chose to rest his more experienced riders for the Tour of Thailand, said Izzat is maturing well as a rider.

"He came here (Thailand) hungry to prove himself and show to us that signing him was the right decision," said Sayuti today.

"He showed good consistency and was able to win the green jersey, which is something we had never achieved before, even during the Sapura days.

"We also never had this many (stage) podiums during Sapura, at the time, we were more focused on the general and Asian classifications.

"Izzat is moving in the right direction ahead of this year's Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL).

"We still have a number of tours to compete in before LTdL so there is plenty of opportunity for Izzat to continue improving."

Izzat, 28, was previously on the books at Sapura from 2017 until 2019 when he was released due to stagnating performances.

He, however, continued to train on his own and was also able to compete at the 2020, 2022 and 2023 editions of LTdL with the national team.

He showed impressive form at LTdL last year, placing fourth in the opening stage and fifth in the eighth stage of the UCI ProSeries tour which prompted MPC to sign him.

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