25 Januari, 2009

Anuar ready for challenge By : Arnaz M. Khairul

IT is another big ask of Anuar Manan (pic) as the national team begin their final turn towards Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) on Feb 9-15.
He is the biggest name Malaysia will put forward in the race and the 23-year old Anuar knows it. Yet the Terengganu-born has his eyes firmly on the task ahead.

"My personal target is still to win a stage and then look at taking the green jersey (points classification)," said Anuar, who is with the national team at their final training camp in Genting Highlands.

"Looking at the route profile, this is not an easy Tour although it is just seven stages. It won't be easy for the sprinters.

"There are climbs everyday and most of the stages go through undulating terrain. That makes it difficult to keep it all together for bunch sprint finishes."
Anuar, then riding for the Le Tua Cycling Team, made history last year when he became the first Malaysian to lead LTdL's points classification, when he just missed out on a stage win on the third day, finishing second to Seoul City's Lee Won Jae.

Anuar ended last year's Tour with no less than the best ever performance by a Malaysian rider, but it is a whole new picture with the national team this time around.

He has long-time lead-out man Ahmad Haidar Anuawar with him in a squad that also includes the versatile workhorse Loh Sea Keong, Zamri Salleh, Ahmad Fallanie Ali and Wan Mohd Najmee Wan Mohamed.

Teamwork, Anuar believes, will be key.

"It is a new team and I've not worked too much with the others, apart from Ahmad Haidar, previously. But we've spent a lot of time together in training, so I think we will have sufficient teamwork to have a serious go," said Anuar.

The 14th edition of LTdL, contested by 20 teams, flags off in Putrajaya on Feb 9 and will go down South to Malacca, passing through Johor, before making its way back to the Klang Valley via coastal route.

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