Haze may affect race

KUCHING: The one big concern for next week’s Jelajah Malaysia cycling tour is the haze problem in the peninsula where several states had reported poor air quality and visibility.

Team Corbusier principal, Safri Mohammed is one person who had first-hand experience of the current weather conditions there because he was in Kuala Lumpur recently to attend competition meetings and briefings.

“It was really hot. The riders will really need to keep themselves hydrated,” he said while expressing the concern on how quickly the team’s Aussie riders can acclimatise to the prevailing warm and hazy conditions.

For the first time ever, Team Corbusier will create cycling history for being the first local cycling club to be invited for the national cycling tour and will be represented by two Aussie riders, Dan Bonello and Paul van der Ploeg from Melbourne, Australia.

“They are coming into very hot and humid weather conditions, so they will have to adapt quickly. The local riders should have no issues but need to watch their hydration,” Safri said.

As how the haze will affect the race, he is expecting the organisers to adjust according to the situation such as to adjust the starting times and perhaps shorten the distances but still they will have to follow UCI’s rules. The route of the country’s oldest cycling race – comprising a gruelling five-stage journey to the south of the peninsula before ending at the administrative capital city of Putrajaya, was launched by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

The minister said this year’s race will see the peloton travel to the south of the peninsula to give cycling fans in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor the opportunity to see international cyclists passing through their towns and cities.

“This is only fair with the organisers of the prestigious Le Tour de Langkawi bringing that race to the North and East Coast this year,” he was quoted as saying.

Jelajah Malaysia is organised by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation and sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC). It is the third Malaysian race on the UCI Asia Tour calendar, after Le Tour the Langkawi and the Malacca Governor’s Cup, with the Tour of Borneo on 18 to 22 August, the final Malaysian race on the continental circuit.

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