The Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) has already opened its doors to every road cyclist in the country who wants a shot at donning national colours with a new talent identification system, as The New Paper reported on Wednesday.
Yesterday, the SCF unveiled another avenue for amateurs and enthusiasts to pit themselves against - and maybe even be crowned as - the nation's best.
Speaking to the media at the OCBC Centre, the SCF announced details of the first national ranking system for road cycling. The system will come into effect on March 13 at the OCBC Cycle Road Race, and will be in play at the three other races (see right sidebar) organised or sanctioned by the SCF this year.
It will be applied across six of the nine categories of individual competition, and will offer points for the top 10 finishers in each category (13 points for the race winner, on a descending scale that will see one point awarded for 10th place) in each of the aforementioned four races.
One week after the season-ending event - the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship - the SCF will crown the first champions of the national ranking system.
"The system is a simple one, but we wanted to put it in place this year when the races start... and we will make modifications to it as we go along," said SCF honorary secretary, Hing Siong Chen, on the ranking system that is crafted along International Cycling Union (UCI) guidelines.
The SCF will look to include more events under the ranking system in the future.
While this system could well provide the average cyclist with something to celebrate after each race, it will also give the SCF extra data points to consider when selecting cyclists for the national squad.
"We want to put in place a transparent system for those who want a chance to represent the country, and with this there will be fewer squabbles or (insinuations) that a cyclist is chosen because we like him," said SCF president Jeffrey Goh.
As part of its talent identification and selection system, the SCF had earlier told TNP that it will test the three principle energy systems - neuromuscular, aerobic and anaerobic - of every athlete, who are then profiled and given ratings based on power, the key standard measurement that the sport utilises.
The times clocked at SCF-sanctioned races, as well as ranking points will provide secondary data points that will help a cyclist's bid to don national colours.
With the new system, current national cyclists like 2015 SEA Games bronze medallist Vincent Ang, who competes overseas, will also benefit from taking part in local races.
"It is not mandatory, but they are encouraged to take part, because it is to their disadvantage if they don't," said SCF sport and technical manager Samuel Yang.
"They will have fewer data points for us to consider."
Sport Singapore's 2011 survey peg national cycling participation numbers at around 96,000, and the SCF anticipate that its newly implemented systems will be well received.
But the management committee is not resting on its laurels.
"There is still a long way to go for (the sport of) cycling in Singapore, but we eventually would like to have a cyclist (compete) at the international level," said Goh.
"We've got a five-year plan, but it's important that we start with getting young children cycling, and convince their parents that cycling is safe," he added, drawing attention to the SCF's safe cycling programme that will be taken to primary schools.
"We feel that education is most important."
SCF NATIONAL RANKING SYSTEM
Will be in play at four races this year:
OCBC Cycle Road Race, March 13
OCBC Cycle National Road Championship (Criterium), May 22
OCBC Cycle National Road Championship (Individual Time Trial), May 29
OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship
System will be implemented in six of the nine available individual race categories (no ranking for men's Sport, and both men's and women's Youth categories), as well as a team category.
Winner of race in each category will get 13 points, on a descending scale that will see the 10th-placed finisher receiving one point.
The SCF will crown champions of the national ranking system at the end of the aforementioned four races.
This article was first published on Feb 26, 2016.
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