THERE is plenty of work to be done after the national road cyclists hit a rough patch at the Melaka Governor's Cup in Malaysia on Sunday.
National cycling coach Yafiz Jamaluddin is looking for his cyclists to pedal up another level after none of his charges managed to finish inside the top-10.
Dutchman Lex Nederlof of CCN Cycling Team won the 95-rider competition, which is part of the UCI Asia Tour calendar, with a time of 4:44:16.
Malaysia's Loh Sea Keong of Terengganu Cycling Team claimed second place with the same time. His teammate Thomas Rabou from the Netherlands grabbed third place 30 seconds back.
Reduan Yusof was the best performer for the Sultanate after finishing in 24th position 5 mins and 39 seconds behind the winner.
Muhammad Raihaan Abd Aziz came in at 34th place 4:56:57 12mins while Ahmad Rifa'ie Johor is in 51st spot with his time 13mins and 23 seconds off the pace.
Raihaan's younger brother I'maadi was down in 64th on 4:58:25 while Mohammad Nazri Mastani didn't finish the race due to technical problems (crash and gear hanger cracked).
Yafiz believes that there is plenty of room for improvement but knew it was always a tall order to achieve his target considering that this was the first tournament of the year for his riders.
"The riders didn't manage to achieve my target and this is the first race of the year so they aren't at peak performance yet," said Yafiz in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"This is still not enough. I was hoping they finish in the top-10. Finish in the top-3 would have been excellent.
"I'm only worried that they might not qualify for the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games because this race has been set as a benchmark for that.
"The riders didn't have enough confidence to put up their best efforts for this race because of inexperience as well," he added.
"We're looking for more races so that they can mature and be ready to qualify for the SEA Games," continued Yafiz.
Looking at being part of Brunei's contingent to the SEA Games in Myanmar in December as the main target this year, the coach is looking to increase the intensity of the training so that his cyclists will be able to show better progress.
"After this all of them will have to give it 150 per cent and double their efforts in training. I will look at upgrading training to another level to prepare them," concluded the Malaysian.
Next on the calendar for the road cycling team is another pre-SEA Games competition in Myanmar tentatively scheduled for next month.
The pre-SEA Games cycling competition for the MTB events were already held at the end of last month.
Mohd Nurjamri Johari was the only Bruneian who got a taste of things there after visa problems denied Raihaan and Shahnizzam Hj Tamit the chance to travel.
The Brunei Times