National cyclist Vincent Ang's bumpy ride to the SEA Games

National cyclist Vincent Ang's bumpy ride to the SEA Games
National cyclist Vincent Ang

Vincent Ang has already made headlines twice in the lead-up to the South-east Asia (SEA) Games (June 5-16), and for reasons he would sooner forget.

Firstly in January, for being photographed by a passer-by for riding his bicycle with his son in one arm and his mobile phone gripped in the fingers of the other.

Then the bicycle he intended to ride at next month's Games was crushed in an incident with a driver of a car in March.

Speaking to the media along with his national cycling teammates yesterday, Ang (right) candidly admitted that his preparations for the Games have not gone smoothly.

Not because of any of the drama that the renegade of Singapore cycling was involved in, but that of something closer to the heart - family.

"If I'm being honest, I'd have to say that preparations haven't been the best. In fact, it's been very, very tough," said the 38-year-old, who is pencilled in for the road race and criterium events.

"I should have been ramping up my training from about a month ago, but I've been doing the same thing for about three weeks now.

"It's because I feel that I'm missing out way too much on my son's life, and he's growing up so fast," he said of his two-and-a-half year old. "It's not the drama that's affecting me - it's my family."

Ang explained that his bike that was damaged in March has been replaced and he has stayed away from dangerous riding too.

But fatherly instincts were the main culprit for derailing his training programme.

It may be the source of his problems now, but family could also very well be Ang's solution come the Games.

Having his family, in particular his son, watching him race will boost him in ways he has never experienced.

"There are overseas races I've been at, that see people on the road for the entire 100km stretch, it's an amazing feeling," said Ang, who has been in and out of the national team before.

His past issues with the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) have resulted in him never flying the Republic's flag at any SEA Games.

BOOST

"I will have about 200 family and friends who will come and watch me, some for the first time and, of course, my boy will be there too, and that will give me a massive boost," he said.

But the veteran has had a healthy dose of reality from recent overseas races where he has done poorly.

Yet he remained confident that one of his five younger teammates will be able to step up to the fore in the road race.

"They think that I'm the one who will be able to do it for the team, but I know that I'm not.

"They're younger than I am, have more energy and recover better," he said of Darren Low, Teh Jing Long, Benedict Lee, Goh Choon Huat and Low Ji Wen.

"I will give everything I got, but it will be one of the boys who will step up."

One advantage that Ang and his team will have over their competitors is home ground.

While the lack of pre-Games road closures mean that they haven't been able to ride on the actual Marina Bay South route, technology will give them an edge.

"Using a GPS (global positioning system) we have loaded the route into the lab trainer, that records data, including the inclines (of the roads on the route)," said SCF endurance coach Adrian Ng.

"Also, the route is a bit up and down, and our riders are generally small and petite, and that helps.

"This doesn't play into our cards 100 per cent... but it's quite a bit of an advantage... about 70 per cent," he added.

The hardly perfect preparation has made it an uphill task, but Ang is not too perturbed.

"I am more realistic, but my drive is still exactly the same," he said.

"Plus, I'll have my son watching."


This article was first published on May 26, 2015.
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