Singapore's hopes for a cycling medal at next month's SEA Games in Myanmar received a boost on Saturday.
Goh Choon Huat of the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team recorded the highest-ever placing by a Singaporean in an International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour event, finishing sixth in stage one of the Banyuwangi Tour de Ijen in Indonesia.
This is the third time the Republic has clinched a top-10 placing in the Tour, with Low Ji Wen taking a ninth place in June's Jelajah Malaysia and Goh clinching 10th spot in September's Tour de East Java.
The duo, together with teammate Ho Jun Rong and Shimano Racing Team's Darren Low, will represent Singapore at the SEA Games, hoping to win a team time-trial medal in Naypyidaw.
Said Goh, 23: "This shows that our preparation leading up to the SEA Games is spot-on."
The rider, however, was slightly disappointed as he was in a good position for a podium finish but miscalculated the sprint finish.
He said: "It could have been a lot better but I believe in learning from failures and I will keep fighting."
Goh's team-mate, Jason Christie of New Zealand, took the stage win with Mehdi Sohrabi of Tabriz Petrochemical (TPT) and Matrix Powertag's Vicente Garcia de Mateos finishing second and third respectively.
OCBC team principal Daniel Loy said the plan was to launch an early attack in the four-day tour as the later stages consisted of steep climbs which the Iranians of TPT will likely reign supreme.
On yesterday's relatively flat 144km route, Christie, along with Goh, latched on to an 18-rider breakaway from the 93-strong starter field and hung on for the win.
The Kiwi, however, is not optimistic about an overall Tour victory, especially with Dutch team-mate Thomas Rabou out of the race owing to equipment failure.
Said Christie: "It was hot out there and that was the hardest part but we had a good day. The Tour is always going to be hard and we just have to take each day at a time."
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