FIVE national cyclist will be heading to Surabaya, Indonesia, to take part in the September 4-6 Tour De East Java on Sunday.
Brunei will be represented by I'maadi Abd Aziz, Reduan Yusop, Muhammad Rafiuddin Zikara, Mohammad Nazri Mastani and Rifa'ie HjJohor.
The tour will consist of three stages with a total distance of 343.1km in the mountains.
Stage one will be a grueling 180km race from Surabaya to Sidoarjo and will pass through Lamongan and Jombang. Stage two will be an 84.5km race from Sidoarjo to Tosari while the final stage is the shortest at 78.6km from Sidoarjo to Mojosari.
"This is one of our warm-ups before we take part in the SEA Games (in Myanmar in December)," I'maadi told The Brunei Times.
"We will do our best in all three stages to try and get good results even though we have never trained in the mountains," said I'maadi, adding there were no mountain stages in last year's tour.
Both I'maadi and Rifa'ie took part in the tour last year, with the latter believing that this year's race will be tougher than last year's because of the terrain.
"I gained a lot of experience from the previous tour last year,"said Rifa'ie.
"It was flat roads the majority of the way with only a few hills that weren't that hard It's going to be a lot harder this year because they will be steep hills.
"I know I'm not too good at uphill, but I will try my best to finish the race and get the best ranking I can.
"I think we all feel nervous because this is our first tour this year (but) it should have been like this (competing) from the beginning of the year to help us prepare for our main target, the SEA Games," added Rifa'ie.
This will be the first tour the national team has competed in since the Tour de Brunei last year but national cycling coach Yafiz Jamaludin expects nothing less than the best from his cyclists.
"I want them to show the best performance since I am targeting them to reach their peak during the SEA Games," he said.
"Now they are at 80 percent and that's enough for them to show their best," added Yafiz.
The tour has attracted 15 teams in total, with eight of them being continental teams.
These are Tabriz Petrochemical Team (Iran), CCN Cyling Team (Brunei), OCBC Cycling Team (Singapore), Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Synergy Baku Cycling Project (Azerbaijan), UKYOCycling Team and Aisan Racing team both from Japan.
Five are national teams from Brunei, Bahrain, Taiwan, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.
The last two are Mes Kerman from Iran and Dome Coffees Cycling Team from Australia.
Kazakhstan's Ivan Tsissaruk who races for Track Team Astana picked up the title in last year's event.
The Brunei Times