New Malaysian stage race for UCI AsiaTour in 2016?

An existing three-day domestic road cycling stage race in Malaysia s southernmost state of Johor is seeking to register with the International Cycling Union (UCI) to attract overseas participants, but will persistent problems within Malaysia s National Cycling Federation (MNCF) hinder progress?

According to a recent article from Malaysia s Star Online, a key official from Johor s state government has held discussions with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Datuk Samad Arifin* about registering this programme with the UCI in order to attract more overseas participants . If successful in its registration, the Jelajah Kemahkotaan Johor race held this year from 31 March to 04 April 2015 and won by Terengganu Cycling Team s Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin would have to carve out a place amongst three existing stage races in Malaysia in an already-dense UCI AsiaTour calendar.

This year s 496.3km race was contested by 18 teams, including UCI Continental squad Terengganu Cycling and three National teams (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei). A separate criterium was held two days after the conclusion of the stage race. Despite the promising overtures, ongoing woes within Malaysia s national cycling federation may prove to be a barrier to new professional road cycling events in that country seeing the light of day anytime soon. Acting on multiple complaints that government funding of MYR1.5m slated for development had been mismanaged by MNCF, a three month suspension was brought upon the federation by Malaysia s Sports Commissioner s office in October 2014. The ban was subsequently lifted in late January, with Deputy Sports Commissioner Tuan Abdul Rahim Tuan Bahru stating that the MNCF must hold its Annual General Meeting and election for office bearers within 60 days as well as amend its constitution to restructure its financial management.

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National track cycling head coach John Beasley, whose team was the unfortunate recipient of MNCF incompetence ahead of this year s Asian Cycling Championships, was one stakeholder pleased to see the requested shakeout of MNCF officials begin in earnest in late February. Speaking to Malay Mail Online, Beasley was reportedly glad MNCF and NSC (National Sports Council) finally heard my pleas when Aizad Othman, special assistant to MNCF president Datuk Abu Samah Abd Wahab, was dismissed from handling team matters. Personnel woes aside, ongoing uncertainty surrounding payment of prize money from recent editions of Le Tour de Langkawi and Jelajah Malaysia further augment the harsh reality that any new event such as Jelajah Kemahkotaan Johor might not get off the ground.

Minutes from last month s scheduled MNCF annual general meeting (AGM) were not yet available at time of writing, so it is not yet clear what further internal changes have occurred, or are yet to be actioned.

*Cycling iQ note: Mr Aripin is actually a Vice President according to the federation s organisational chart

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