Thai club team Singha Infinite is the latest squad from Asia to secure a UCI Continental licence for the 2016 season, bringing to 46 the total number of third-division UCI teams currently registered in the world’s biggest continent.
Thailand’s Singha Infinite cycling team has always appeared to have much bigger aspirations than suggested by its club status, so this latest upgrade is perhaps no surprise.
Indeed, few road cycling squads enjoy the support of a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate, let alone that of an international bicycle manufacturer – to have both is a combination that is normally the exclusive domain of the best WorldTeams.
Singha is Thailand’s best-selling beer brand with 72% market share in that country. Aside from selling prodigious amounts of alcoholic beverages, Singha Corporation comprises a diverse array of business units from packaging to real estate.
The Infinite brand of high-end bicycles is manufactured by LA Bicycle (Thailand) Co., Ltd, a sister company of OEM manufacturer Bangkok Cycle Industrial Co., Ltd which was founded in 1987.
Singha Infinite is best known on the UCI Asia Tour for the hill-climbing exploits of team captain Peter Pouly – two time GC winner of the UCI2.2 International Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen in Indonesia – although it can’t rely on the Chiang-Rai based French rider beyond 2016, as he announced his retirement from professional road cycling last month.
With a majority of its riders from Singapore, the team is also now registered in that country and will be managed by Yeow Teo Kim; former Sports Director of fleeting Taiwanese Continental outfit Fuji – Cyclingtime.com (2011) and the Lapierre Asia Cycling club team (a.k.a Team Fuji Asia).
There is no evidence that securing invitations outside the Asia Tour is a priority for this newly-minted team, but it will be interesting to reflect on its season at a later date to discover if a natural successor to Pouly has been found (Thailand junior national road cycling champion Adulwit Phosangda is one to watch) and to see whether or not it will continue as a UCI-registered entity for the following year.
SINGHA INFINITE 2016 ROSTER
Vincent Ang (Singapore)
Muhammad Izrafel Bin Mohsen (Singapore)
Konstantin Fast (Russia)
Jetsada Janluang (Thailand)
Tawatchai Jeeradechatam (Thailand)
Bendict Lee (Singapore)
Nicolas Magnan (Canada)
Yong Liang Mun (Singapore)
Brian Ng (Singapore)
Khunakon Nonthichan (Thailand)
Adulwit Phosangda (Thailand)
Peter Pouly (France)
Marcus Tan (Singapore)