posted: 21/01/13 at 05:04 pm


By: Ufficio Marketing
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From OCBC press agency

SINGAPORE, 21 Jan 2013 – SINGAPORE’S first-ever professional cycling squad, the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team, is back in 2013, hungry for more after an eventful first season.
The team enjoyed a busy 2012 as a Union Cycliste Internationale-licensed Continental cycling outfit and is gunning for greater glory this year. Having retained its UCI license and armed with even more experience and support from a wide range of corporate sponsors, the team’s roster of 11 fiercely competitive riders are taking aim at a tightly packed racing calendar this year that includes at least 25 races.
Renewing its support for the team is long-time partner and title sponsor OCBC Bank, which has pledged $160,000 annually to the team for the next three years. Other sponsors, such as Wilier Triestina (bicycle frames), Vittoria (tyres), Sufferfest (training videos), FITSKÜUL (bicycle fitting services) and 100PLUS (isotonic drinks) have come on board in 2013 to provide specialised services and equipment required by the team to achieve even higher levels of athletic performance.

Ms Koh Ching Ching, Head of Group Corporate Communications of OCBC Bank, said: “I am glad that our sponsorship of Singapore’s first-ever team of professional cyclists has proven very successful over the years. What started out as a club team in 2009 has matured and grown into a full-time professional Continental team in 2012. It has not been an easy journey for the team as cycling is a relatively new competitive sport in Singapore, and it is not as high-profile as other mainstream sports like football and table tennis.”

The team chalked up a string of impressive results in 2012, enjoying its finest season to date. The following are some of its key performances from last season: – Tour de Langkawi: 11th overall (Goh Choon Huat – best-ever finish by a Singaporean) – Tour de Thailand: 8th overall (Loh Sea Keong) – Tour de Filipinas: 2nd overall (Loh Sea Keong) – Tour de Singkarak: 5th in Stage 5 (Goh Choon Huat) – Singapore National Championships: Individual Time Trial Champion (Junaidi Hashim – no longer with team) and Road Race Champion (Darren Low – no longer with team) – Tour of Brunei: King of Mountains jersey (Martin Maxime – no longer with team)

Bolstering the team’s firepower this year are newcomers Thomas Rabou from the Netherlands and Singapore’s Ryan Chan. Rabou is a 14-year veteran of professional cycling who has served as a domestique for many top riders. Domestiques, French for “servant,” are the workhorses of a team who create slipstreams for the team leaders, shielding them until the critical moments in each race. Most recently in 2012, Rabou raced for the Competitive Cyclist Racing Team in the United States, working with
Spanish rider Francisco “Paco” Mancebo, who finished sixth and fourth respectively in the 2004 and 2005 Tours de France.

Chan, who is the youngest member of the team at 18 years old, is one of Singapore’s most promising young riders. He captured the Singapore National Championships road race junior title in 2010 and finished seventh in the road race at the Asian Junior Cycling Championships last year. Chan, who is pursuing a diploma in Hotel Management at Shatec Institutes, will be balancing his studies with his cycling aspirations, which include representing Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games later this year.

The two newcomers and their teammates will spend more time on the road this year, participating in key regional races and training overseas. Despite long periods away from home, Team Manager Justin Cheong, 28, is confident that the riders are focused and hungry for success, and will benefit from the intense cycle of training and racing.
“We had a good first season, but I don’t believe we have achieved all we are capable of yet,” Cheong said. “We tasted some success last year, but this year, a major target will be to place a Singaporean rider on the podium in a UCI race.”
In a bid to establish itself as a top cycling outfit with the highest levels of ethics and professionalism, the team is also the first Asian squad to join the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (Movement for Credible Cycling), or MPCC, an organisation that advocates strict anti-doping rules that go beyond the existing World Anti-Doping Agency code. This is a testament to the team’s commitment to keeping cycling clean and upholding the sport’s integrity.

Suhaimi Haji Said, President of the Singapore Cycling Federation, said: “The Singapore Cycling Federation is proud to support the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team. The team continues to raise the profile of the sport of cycling in Singapore by flying the nation’s flag high in events throughout the region. At the same time, they are setting a strong example for aspiring cyclists and athletes through their focus and commitment and also through their determination to work for a clean sport, as their participation in global anti-doping initiatives like the MPCC shows. We look forward to seeing the riders on the podium of the region’s biggest races this year and for many years to come.”
Ms Koh said that the clear commitment displayed by the team’s cyclists will hold them in good stead as they seek to make their mark on the global cycling stage.
“What I am impressed with is the high level of commitment and passion these athletes have, putting on hold their careers to pursue their dreams to be professional cyclists. Today, as we unveil the team for the new season, we are looking forward to a rewarding season and hope that they will one day be able to compete with the very best in the sport at events such as the Tour de France,” she said.

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