Press Release | 9 April 2012

KOTA KINABALU - DEFENDING UCI Asia Tour overall winners Tabriz Petrochemical will start as favorites to win the overall title in the inaugural Tour of Borneo in Sabah on April 27 to May 1.

YB Datuk Jahid Jahim, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Sabah announced the participating teams at a press conference, which was held today at Sabah Ministry of Youth and Sports. Also present was Tour of Borneo 2012 Organizing Chairman Dato’ Fredie Sua and race officials.

“I am impressed by the overwhelming response from teams as this is our first year. I believe that we will have a truly competitive line-up, a new history will be made in Sabah, we hope to see our riders do their very best and will be able to be on the podium.” said Datuk Jahid.

The five-stage race already promises a spectacular debut on the international calendar with some of the most picturesque settings along it's 758.4 kilometre total distance and the action itself now promises to match that with Tabriz Petrochemical leading the charge.

The Iranian team will be led by the 2010 UCI Asia Tour overall individual champion Hossein Askari, who will be among the favourites for the deciding battle in Stage Four, the longest stage covering 214.8 kilometres from Sepilok to Kundasang at
the foot of Mount Kinabalu. That is also the longest stage of the race.

Providing a stiff challenge to the Iranians will be Australia's Genesys Pro Cycling featuring Tom Robinson, Kane Walker, Kyle Marwood, Alex Carver, Joel Pearson and Nic Sanderson. Australia will also be represented by the Plan B Cycling Team.

Not to be discounted is the local challenge led by the Terengganu Cycling team who have lined up their strongest team led by sprinter Harrif Salleh. Also in the squad, which is Malaysia's only UCI Continental Team this year, are Harrif's elder brother Zamri, Malaysian national champion Shahrul Mat Amin, Tour of Thailand stage winners Saufi Mat Senan and Shinichi Fukushima, and South Korean Jang Chan Jae.

Thus far, 19 teams have been confirmed for the UCI 2.2 race, with Malaysian teams Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Armed Forces, the national under-23 team and Sabah set to mix it up with some of the best riders in Asia.

Indonesia will be represented by two teams - Polygon Sweet Nice and Putra Perjuangan, the Philippines also by two teams 7-Eleven by Roadbike Philippines and LBC Cycling Team, while Brunei's first UCI Continental Team CCN Cycling Team will also be present, alongside Singapore's OCBC Cycling featuring Malaysian rider Ahmad Haidar Anuawar.

New Zealand's Pure Black Racing team, who have spent the past month in Malaysia for a training base, will also feature in the race led by star Roman Van Uden, while the Suren Uzbekistan Team should not be discounted from the challenge for the overall title with promising young star Muratjan Halmuratov, winner of a stage in the Tour of Thailand, backed by the experienced Vladimir Tuychiev in their squad.

Kazakhstan's national team will be guided by coach Yevgeniy Yakovlev who is no stranger to this part of the world, having featured with Indonesian and Malaysian teams in the past in races such as Le Tour de Langkawi and Jelajah Malaysia.

Tour of Borneo 2012 is a five-day road race that involves five stages covering a total distance of 758.4 kilometres. The 2.2 category event is sanctioned by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and is listed in the UCI Asian Tour calendar.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the honorary patron of the event, while Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman is the honorary national adviser.

The 5 stages race will start from Semporna to Tawau (102.8km) on 27th April, from there the riders will proceed to Stage 2 : Tawau - Lahad Datu (146.6km); Stage 3 : Lahad Datu - Sandakan (181.8km); before they face the grueling mountain highlands in Stage 4 from Sepilok leading to Kundasang (214.8km) the base of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia. The race will end in the West Coast of Sabah on Stage 5 : Kundasang � Kota Kinabalu (112.4km), on 1st of May 2012.