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NST Online: Sports

Incentives galore for Terengganu team

Posted: 19 Jan 2011 08:14 AM PST

By Zainuddin Muhammad

CARROTS are being dangled by the state government for Terengganu Pro-Asia Cycling Team (TSG) riders ahead of the 16th edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), which starts on Sunday.

An instant cash reward of RM5,000 will be waiting for any TSG riders -- Anuar Manan, Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin, Mohd Saufi Mat Senan, Mohd Harrif Salleh, Shinichi Fukushima or Phuchong Sai-Udomsin -- who is good enough to clinch a stage win.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said said the amount will be doubled to RM10,000 should the same rider pull off another stage win during the eight-day, 10-stage tour from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur.

"A TSG rider who secures two stage wins will earn a bonus of RM15,000 and a further RM5,000 will be added to subsequent wins throughout the competition.

"There is already money to be made in this RM1 million event but we feel it is prudent to offer extra incentives to push our newly formed team in their quest to bring more cycling glory to the state," he said after flagging off the team at Wisma Darul Iman in Kuala Terengganu yesterday.

He said TSG was only registered with the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Dec 24 and claimed it would be something if the team were to attain success on their first attempt.

Anuar, however declined to make any predictions although he admitted having a good feeling about competing in LTdL again.

"I would rather wait for the team to complete the first stage from Helang Square to Kuah Town (covering 91.9km) before making any assessment on our chances in the tournament."

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New partnership a boost for Zulfahmi

Posted: 19 Jan 2011 08:14 AM PST

MALAYSIA'S sole representative in the MotoGP World Championship Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin can look forward to a promising season ahead as his team AirAsia Sepang International Circuit Racing Team have joined forces with 125cc World Championship winning team Ajo Motorsports.

The partnership, which will officially be called Team AirAsia-SIC-AJO Racing, will see Ajo Motorsport take Zulfahmi under their wings this season.

This includes him being based in Europe with them between races in the hope of achieving a top-eight finish overall.

Zulfahmi had a decent debut season last year, finishing 24th overall with the support of Italian team Ongetta-ISPA after collecting four championship points from four 15th place finishes at Catalunya, Sachering, Brno and Estoril.

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali said the move was important to help Zulfahmi continue improving in the sport.

"Considering his lack of experience, Zulfahmi did well in his first season in MotoGP but for him to progress he needs to move to a better team and what better team to join than the world championship winning team," said Ahmad Razlan.

"Besides being the world champions, Ajo Motorsport where selected as they have a good management and leadership style and are also experienced in the development of riders."

Zulfahmi said he was elated to be joining a world class team and was hoping to do better in his second season in MotoGP.

"I had a very difficult time last year as I was still adapting to the racing style which is very much different from what I experienced in Malaysia," said Zulfahmi.

Zulfahmi will begin a series of pre-season tests with his new team in mid February and will start the season at the Qatar Grand Prix on Mar 20. -- FADHLI ISHAK

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