THE postponement of the Tour de Brunei has not gone down too well with the national team.
The tour was scheduled to be held from September 25-29 but was postponed by the Brunei Darussalam Cycling Federation (BDCF) in a press release dated August 1.
The decision to postpone the country's only International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour race to next year was made because the dates coincided with very important national events.
"I am really disappointed that this happened because this won't help the development of the cycling culture in Brunei," said national cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin yesterday.
"All cyclists in the country have been waiting for this to come after the previous edition last year.
"There is nothing we can do about it though, because national events are more important.
"I just hope that this doesn't happen again in the future," he added.
Yafiz went on to tell The Brunei Times that the national cyclists were frustrated because they had been preparing hard for the tournament and wanted to prove to the country that they could perform better than last year.
National cyclist Ahmad Rifa'ie Johar, whose 61st position finish was the best by any Bruneian last year, also expressed his disappointment.
"We were prepared since the beginning of the year for the tour to show our capabilities," said Rifa'ie.
"I was aiming to win the overall youngest rider award.
"It was also going to be our warm up race before going to Myanmar for the SEA Games to gain more experience and confidence.
"Now we will only be focusing on the SEA Games which will be held in December," added Rifa'ie.
National cyclist I'maadi Abd Aziz was also disappointed that it was moved back because this will be the third time he has missed out on the country's biggest race.
"We have been preparing ourselves for five months now leading up to the race," said I'maadi.
"The tour was one of our two targets for this year (and) I can tell we are all in good shape right now,"I'maadi added.
I'maadi's brother Raihaan shared his sibling's disappointment.
"Even on the facebook page the cycling fans showed that they were disappointed with the news," he said.
"For me this year I'm focusing on mountain biking, so if the tour was still going on it would be good for my training.
"Though for the other riders that are focusing on road racing, I can see that they are in shape for the tour and it would have also been a good warm up for the SEA Games," added Raihaan.
National cyclist Mohamad Nurjamri Johari was the only one of the five interviewed who didn't mind the issue.
"It's alright I guess because I've got the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge from September 28 to October 5," said Nurjamri.
"After that my next target will be the SEA Games in Myanmar," he added.
The Tour de Brunei, which was first held in 2011, has seen Iran's Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team finish on top of the team classification in both editions.
Tabriz's Hossein Askari is the defending champion, followed by Vietnam's Van Duan Le in second andTabriz's Hossein Nateghi in third.
Brunei hosted 19 teams in the previous competition, with three of them local; the national side, UCI continental side CCN Cycling Team and club side LOF Cycling Team.
The national team finished at the bottom of the table.
The Brunei Times