TWO riders named Aiman are sure to attract the attention of cycling fans at the 27th edition of the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2023 (LTdL) which begins with Stage 1 in Kerteh, this Saturday.
But the focus would likely be more on Muhammad Nur Aiman Zariff with the Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team (TSG) out to land a hat-trick of King of Mountain red polka dot jersey after winning it the first time at LTdL 2020 and then a second at LTdL 2022.
Even though Aiman is not considered as a pure climber, his skill in strategising by picking up crucial points in the easier climb zones prior to the big ones allowed the 25-year-old to give the local fans plenty to cheer.
And when the curtain is raised on Stage 1 from Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu for a distance of 187.4km with two KOM4 climb zones in Jerangau and Sekayu, Aiman Zariff is expected to be involved in this early action, either making an early break or being at the front of the peloton.
Being able to stand on the podium as early as the first stage in his home state, and in front of TSG’s die-hard fans, is the necessary tonic and fuel for this Marang-born rider, in facing the next more challenging stages, in Stage 2 from Kuala Terengganu to Kota Bharu which will also have two further climbs at Setiu and Pelong.
The advantage for Aiman Zariff is that in addition to being very knowledgeable about the first two steep stages, he is also surrounded by fellow racers who are able to help him succeed in the mission, such as Mongolian-born Jambaljamst Sainbayar, Youcef Reguigui (Algeria) and Jeroen Meijers (Netherlands).
In contrast, Malaysia national team’s Muhammad Nur Aiman Rosli, will only be out to improve the national team rankings considering that he is making his LTdL debut this year.
The four-time national Individual Time Trial champion (2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023) admitted that the strategy on the two downhill stages was more about using his time trial cycling expertise to find space to lead in either Mohamad Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil or Zulhelmi Zainalto the front group when approaching the finish line.
More importantly, Aiman together with Muhammad Zawawi Azman, Shaiful Adlan Shukri and Muhsin Al Redha Misbah will be out to take on Stage 3 (Jeli-Baling, 183.1km) and Stage 5 (Slim River-Genting Highlands, 126.4km) which will be their main targets..
A certain sense of advantage for the national squad coached by Mohd Yusuf Nasir is that the riders have tried both difficult stages during training sessions for the past two months, with an average ride of about 1,000km per week, in addition to warming up at Tour Gateh D’Tranung last September 3-8.
The 24-year-old former Team Sapura Cycling rider, who was sidelined at LTdL 2022 due to the team management’s decision to field four overseas riders, has taken a more pragmatic ‘stage by stage’ approach.
He said that he is on a personal mission to leave a big impact in this year’s LTdL 2023 so as to attract other professional teams to his ability.
Regardless of the personal missions from the two Aimans, both of them will be hoping for the support and enthusiasms of the local fans throughout the entire distance of 1,278.1km of the race this year.
PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2023 with the theme ‘Beat The Heat’ is organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) through the National Sports Council (MSN) and the support of the National Cycling Federation of Malaysia (PKBM), starts in Kerteh, Terengganu on September 23 and ends at the iconic PETRONAS Twin Towers (KLCC) on 30 September.
LTdL 2023, with a ProSeries status, will travel through 11 of the 12 states in the Peninsula, covering a total distance of 1,278.1km.
A total of 132 riders representing 2 WorldTeam teams, 8 ProTeam teams, 11 Continental teams and one national team will participate.
SENARAI PASUKAN LTDL 2023
|1||ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM||UCI WORLD TEAM||KAZAKHSTAN|
|2||EF EDUCATION-EASYPOST||UCI WORLD TEAM||USA|
|3||CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA||UCI PROTEAM||SEPANYOL|
|4||EQUIPO KERN PHARMA||UCI PROTEAM||SEPANYOL|
|5||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||UCI PROTEAM||SEPANYOL|
|6||GREEN PROJECT – BARDIANI CSF – FAIZANE||UCI PROTEAM||ITALI|
|7||TEAM CORRATEC – SELLE ITALIA||UCI PROTEAM||ITALI|
|8||HUMAN POWERED HEALTH||UCI PROTEAM||USA|
|9||TUDOR PRO CYCLING TEAM||UCI PROTEAM||SWITZERLAND|
|10||BOLTON EQUITIES BLACK SPOKE PRO CYCLING||UCI PROTEAM||NEW ZEALAND|
|11||TERENGGANU POLYGON CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||MALAYSIA|
|12||7ELEVEN CLIQQ – AIR21 BY ROADBIKE PHILIPPINES||UCI CONTINENTAL||FILIPINA|
|13||NUSANTARA CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||INDONESIA|
|14||HENGXIANG CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||CHINA|
|15||LI NING STAR||UCI CONTINENTAL||CHINA|
|16||GIANT CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||CHINA|
|17||ST GEORGE CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||AUSTRALIA|
|18||KSPO PROFESSIONAL||UCI CONTINENTAL||KOREA SELATAN|
|19||JCL TEAM UKYO||UCI CONTINENTAL||JEPUN|
|20||ROOJAI ONLINE INSURANCE||UCI CONTINENTAL||THAILAND|
|21||THAILAND CONTINENTAL CYCLING TEAM||UCI CONTINENTAL||THAILAND|
|22||MALAYSIA NATIONAL TEAM||CONTINENTAL||MALAYSIA|