Singapore Cycling steps up to the next level of development
17 JANUARY 2012, SINGAPORE – Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) and OCBC Bank today announced that the OCBC Singapore Cycling Team has been awarded the Continental Team licence by Union Cycliste International (UCI), the international governing body for cycling, for the 2012 season. The Continental Team licence allows the team to participate in any UCI-sanctioned races in Asia. The team will be renamed ‘OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team’ to reflect its evolvement from a club team to a continental one.
The OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team was established in 2009 as part of the Singapore Cycling Federation’s talent identification and development programme. Over the past three years, the team has performed considerably well and garnered numerous top 10 finishes in regional and local races such as Tour of East Java, Tour of Brunei and OCBC Cycle Singapore. Many of the cyclists have also been selected to represent Singapore in major competitions such as the Asian Cycling Championships and South East Asian (SEA) Games 2009 and 2011.
With its new status as a continental team, the OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team automatically qualifies for cycling races on the UCI-sanctioned Asian Circuit. These races include the Tour of Indonesia, Tour of Thailand and Tour of Malaysia. This allows the team to tailor a racing calendar that meets their goals, a luxury that it did not enjoy as a club team. The OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team will kick-start their session with Tour de Langkawi on 24 February and OCBC Cycle Singapore from 2-4 March.
The continental team will consist of 12 cyclists; six of whom are full-time. The six cyclists are Singaporeans Ho Jun Rong, Goh Choon Huat, Vincent Ang, Australian Nick Squillari, and Malaysians Loh Sea Keong and Ahmad Haidar Anuawar. The foreign riders have been drafted into the team to share their knowledge and raise the level of competitiveness amongst the local cyclists. The OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team will largely be based in Chiang Mai where they will have access to terrains suitable for their training needs, such as rolling hills, mountains and a velodrome.
Speaking at the team launch, Justin Cheong, OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team’s manager said, “Our vision is to be one of the top racing teams in South East Asia. Receiving the Continental Team License is a defining milestone for us. It reflects well on the progress that the team has made in the last three years.”
He added, “I believe we have brought together a mix of experience and skills that has the potential to develop into a strong team to compete on the UCI circuit. We are still very much in our infancy but the licence allows us the chance to prepare the team better and have more opportunities for success throughout this year.”
Mr Victor Yew, President of Singapore Cycling Federation added, “The achievements of our national cycling team at the recent SEA Games are a testament to the crucial role of the OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team in the development of local cyclists. With the team now able to compete in races of higher standards, this can only augur well for Singapore Cycling. We are hopeful that with the team receiving the continental team license, we will be able to put up a good show in 2015 when Singapore hosts the SEA Games.”
Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Corporate Communications, OCBC Bank, said: “Over the past years, we have concentrated our efforts towards helping children and young people realise their full potential. When we decided to sponsor the team in 2008, we had hoped to help a group of young cyclists achieve their dreams of competing professionally in the international arena. With this latest development, we are pleased that they are moving one step closer to their dreams. It is our hope that we could have one local cyclist on the podium of OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Night Criterium in future.”
Other sponsors of OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team are Rudy Project Singapore, F2P Sportswear, Sufferfest Videos and Opera Bicycles.