SPRINT specialist Anuar Manan may be entering the twilight of his career but he remains as hungry as ever, going into PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) which flags off in Kuching on Friday.
It is a different scenario this time for Anuar, who is set to turn 34 later this year, as he will be riding for the national team at LTdL this season for the first time in over a decade.
The Terengganu-born rider entered the history books as the first Malaysian to win a stage in LTdL in 2010 when he won the fifth stage from Muar to Port Dickson.
“It’s a bit special this time because this is the first time I am competing in LTdL with the national team since 2009,” said Anuar.
“Since then (2009) I had either been competing in LTdL with foreign teams or Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG).
“Pulling on the national jersey is a different feeling and I am very happy to represent the country again. I believe we have a good team this year and we are determined to do well.
“There is a bit of a (age) gap between myself and the younger riders in the team. I have more experience in the big races and have won a stage before, so I hope this will help the team.”
He had ridden for Geumsan Ginseng Asia, Champion System Pro Cycling Team, Synergy Baku Cycling Project and TSG between 2010-2017.
He is currently on the books at Forca Amskins, who are not competing in LTdL this year.
Anuar admitted that the competition will be just as stiff as previous years but is keen on making an impact in at least one of the eight stages.
“My goal is to try and win a stage and my best chance to do that would probably be in the second stage in Terengganu because I am quite familiar with the routes there,” added Anuar.
“But having said that, the competition will be tough because there are quite a number of strong local riders while the foreign teams competing will be no pushovers.”
The national team also feature puncheur Sofian Nabil Omar Bakri and time trial specialist Nik Azwan Zulkifle.
The duo could spring a surprise or two if things go their way over rolling terrain.
The Kota Kinabalu Criterium International (86.7km), a support event for LTdL, will be held tomorrow.
The opening stage of LTdL proper will see riders covering a 96.2km loop of Kuching on Friday.
New Straits Times, 5 February 2020