Wheels set in motion for national cycling squad
Former footballer, decathlete and triathlete in SCF's sights after undergoing open trials
The aim was to cast the net far and wide to unearth diamonds both rough and polished, and the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) has done just that with its national squad selection trials.
Launched last month, the trials were open to anyone, even those who do not own a bike - as The New Paper reported in February.
SCF has already trialled a former S.League footballer and two competitors from last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games - a decathlete and a triathlete.
"We got all sorts of people coming for trials, and the joy is in the surprise - those who don't look like they could pull it off, but actually come up with great numbers. It's like (reality talent show) Britain's Got Talent," said SCF head coach, Adrian Ng.
"There have been two or three who have really surprised, and I'm hoping for more.
"We have tested 77 people and will test 68 more. Then we will pick the top 30 (15 male and 15 female) riders."
Ng was speaking on the sidelines of the presentation ceremony of yellow jerseys to the winners - across eight categories - of the OCBC Cycle Road Race held on March 13.
The winners will don their jerseys at the OCBC Cycle National Road Championships over the last two weekends of this month.
Ng revealed that Lance Tan, who donned national colours in the decathlon at the SEA Games last year, registered some promising numbers in the trials that measured three principal energy systems in a cyclist - neuro-muscular, aerobic and anaerobic.
The tests give ratings based on power, the key standard measurement that the sport utilises.
Winona Howe, a 21-year-old SEA Games triathlete, and ex-Woodlands Wellington winger Hilmi Azman underwent their tests yesterday just before the yellow jerseys were presented.
"The tests will give us a gauge of their engine, the physiological aspect," said Ng.
"But there are other important pillars in cycling - the psychological, tactical, technical and teamwork.
"If we can address these other issues, we will have a champion.
"Lance could be in the squad.
"The numbers he registered mean that he will be around the top few (finishers) in regional races, but he may not win because of tactical and technical issues."
The winners of the yellow jerseys will now be the face of the SCF's National Ranking system launched earlier this year.
It will see points awarded for performances at road events organised or sanctioned by the SCF.
The sports association will also consider those who top the rankings in the national squad.
"We're keeping the door open till the later part of the year for people who won (March's OCBC Cycle) race, but the caveat is that they still have to go through this selection process, and meet the selection standards. These are the new requirements that kicked in this year," said SCF sport and technical manager, Samuel Yang.
"We want to pick the best cyclists while also ensuring that we have depth, in terms of the different kinds of cyclists - sprinters, climbers and all-rounders."
The selection will be split into two key phases, with next year's SEA Games and Asian Continental Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games as the targets.
After the SCF picks its national training squad near the end of the year, phase two - a camp focusing on teamwork and mental strength - will kick in before final selections for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.