Our Exclusive Interview with the hot local favourites Terengganu Cycling Team, TSG continues with Adiq Husainie, Saiful Anuar and new-signing from Singapore, Goh Choon Huat.
The team romped into Jelajah Malaysia with Anuar Manan reaping 2 stage wins, and Nur Amirul securing the King of Mountain (KOM) Jersey.
Adiq Husainie – 26th in General Classification (GC)
Newly-wed Adiq Husainie hardly had time to embark on his honeymoon, and will be having a close relationship with his bike instead. He also just returned from racing 21 days in a row, from Tour of Taiwan to Taihu lake and Tour of Yancheng Costal Wetlands with minimal rest days in between.
Jelajah Malaysia did not bode well for Adiq, and he turned to serve the sprinters and bring them to glory.
“On the first day, I made a mistake in the last 70km. We made the chase to the breakaway too late to aim for the General Classification. It was only in the last 50km when Anuar, myself and another teammate chased down the breakaway. So I turned domestique instead in this race to serve the sprinters. It’s team work after all, some days my teammates will work for me, so this time it’s my turn.”
BB: What’s your favourite part of racing?
Adiq: I love climbing and finishing at the top. A few years ago in 2011, I won the KOM jersey for JM at Bukit Ampang. Although, I prefer rolling climbs, and not like steep climbs.
Earlier in the year, I trained very hard for LTDL, and won a podium placing for the Asian Rider and third place in the longest stage. My parents are from Terengganu but have moved to Langkawi. So it’s sort of a homecomiing for me in Langkawi when we race at LTDL. I would bring my teammates to my grandfather’s house after the Tour too.
BB: What are your targets for next year?
Adiq: Next year it will be difficult to qualify for Olympic as we’re placed 5th or 6th, but they only take the best 4 Asian riders. We look forward to more podium wins.
Personally, I will target top 10 for UCI Asian Tour, as in 2013, I was in the Top 10. It’s also going to be a tough fight as we have Italians in the Asian Tour now.
BB: Do you have any advise for budding young cyclists?
Adiq: If you want to do something, go ahead, focus and don’t look back. If you want to be a good cyclist, you need to focus and be disciplined.
Cycling is a good profession with a salary even though we’re not in the National team but with a club team, I’ve been in the Continental teams in the last 7 years with Drapac-Porsche Cycling, Champion System and now with Terengganu Cycling Team.
There a lot of good riders from the track and road racing teams. They are good but they are only 20 years of age, and already thinking of different priorities and taking up different jobs. However, if you’re willing to work hard and focus, you can go far in cycling.
BB: How did you get started in cycling?
Adiq: I started mountain biking at age 11. At age 13, I was invited to the Malaysian Track Development Team at Bukit Jalil from Form 1 till Form 5. My biggest victory so far was winning third place at the World Junior Scratch race in Moscow in 2009 and second in Asian Junior Road Race Championships.
So now I’m racing in the Elite category above 24 years of age. I am looking forward to apply everything that I’ve learned while racing with the Continental teams in Europe. I came back to Asia to Terengganu team to focus on Asian races and I wanna make something different and something good for the team.
Saiful Anuar – 7th in GC
BB: The race must be doing well for you, Saiful.
Saiful: Yes, it’s good. We targeted to win stages in JM with our 2 sprinters with Adiq, Huat and myself leading the sprinters to the front. I ranked the highest in the GC among the team, but it’s great team work.
BB: Is climbing your forte?
Saiful: No, hence I was afraid of being left behind during the climb on Bukit Ampang. After that, we worked hard to bring the sprinters to the fore to win the stage.
BB: What did you aim to gain from JM?
Saiful: I aimed to improve on my GC standings but did not get into the top 5. The pace was fast today with teams from Indonesia and Philippines trying to breakaway as they do not have sprinters. The team from Skydive Dubai tried to control the pace to maintain the yellow jersey.
BB: What do you aspire to achieve in 2016?
Saiful: Well, in January, we will start our training camp in Thailand, and I will train hard to fight for the six spots in LTDL. Once we reach Terengganu, the majority of the residents will come out to cheer for us along the sides of the road.
BB: How does Terengganu have a big dearth of young talent?
Saiful: The Terengganu government created the ‘Pelapis’ programme for youngsters to train hard, incalculate self-discipline to get absorbed into TSG. After the Malaysian Games (SUKMA), they select young talent into Pelapis, and with good results they get into TSG. TSG has taken in four young riders so far including myself and Amirul.
Goh Choon Huat – 13th in GC
‘Ah Huat’ as he’s known within the team, is the only foreign rider hailing from Singapore in the team for Jelajah Malaysia.
BB: How are you settling in with team TSG?
Huat: So far so good, it’s been quite a good season for the team. I hope to score more points for the upcoming races. All my teammates have been treating me well, I’m happy with the team, the management side is good too.
BB: You are in a good position in the GC for Jelajah Malaysia.
Huat: In stage 3, I was in 13th, hoped to move up with Saiful by hoping to get as many points as possible. Some Intermediate points would be very helpful.
BB: What’s your specialty on the bike? Coming from SG you don’t have many hills.
Huat: I’m more of an all-rounder, and I can handle some tough climbs. For TSG, we always do training camps. I’m based in Kuala Terengganu now, and it’s a good training ground for me.
BB: What’s your target for 2016?
Huat: LTDL, definitely. I have previously participated 4-5 times with different teams, and won Asian jersey last year.
BB: What bicycles are the team riding?
Huat: We’re using the Willier Cento 1 Air, with Dura Ace groupsets. The sprinters are on Di2 while the rest of us are on mechanical. And for wheels, we’re using Dura Ace C50 and C35. I’m happy with all these good equipment, and with all the races coming up, we hope to gain more sponsorship.
BB: What do you like best about racing?
Huat: It’s all about speed! We don’t know what will happen everyday, every stage, so we’ll have to bring out our best. Ride hard and get over the day.
BB: Do you have any advise for up and coming cyclist, especially from Singapore?
Huat: Singapore needs to work harder to develop the young riders, and I hope to see more cyclists going into overseas teams and bigger platforms.