Cycling/LTdL : Anuar carries heavy burden
MALAYSIAN cycling needs a boost, and that boost is success in Le Tour de Langkawi’s 13th edition which flags off today.
And never in the history of the race has there been as much hope in Malaysian riders as there is now.The likes of Le Tua’s Anuar Manan, Meitan Hompo-GDR’s Ng Yong Li, Trek-Marco Polo’s Loh Sea Keong and the national team’s Suhardi Hassan and Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi will have to repay this faith.Much has been said of the hope in Anuar registering the first ever stage win by a Malaysian in LTdL and the rider touted as Asia’s best sprinter at this moment doesn’t deny the possibility, and still looks the best bet among the underdogs when it comes to bunch sprint finishes.“I’m looking at it seriously, but the concentration of the team has to be 100 per cent. We will not be using the same approach as we did last year when we tried to take the wheel of the top sprinters and hope that we got good finishes out of that. This time, we will be making our own train and try our best to match the European teams,” said Anuar, 22.
“If the team can get me or Ahmad Haidar (Anuawar) into the last few hundred metres in a good position, then it will be up to us to take on the best sprinters.“Of course, for the sprints the favourites will be the likes of Alberto Loddo and Danilo Hondo. They’re the biggest names, but we have to try to match them.”Yong Li, 22, will begin his fourth consecutive LTdL with some hope of a good finish in the general classification (GC) and he starts as among the outsiders for the Asian rider’s classification win.The national team seem better than they’ve ever been with leader Suhardi looking a composed figure, clear about what he wants the team to achieve this time around.“We’re stronger and in better form. Our plans have been for the Fraser’s Hill stage because a good overall result will likely be decided there. We’ve spent some time training along the route and we know that stage will be at quite a high speed.“We’ve just got to stay with the front group and latch on to any attacks. If we can do that and stay out of trouble in the flat stages, we can hope for something good in the final results,” said Suhardi.