22 May 17 The Straits Times by IAN KIEW
With the SEA Games drawing closer, national cyclists received a huge boost prior to the Aug 19-30 multi-sport event with yesterday's OCBC Cycle National Road Championship at Seletar North Link.
National team cyclists Goh Choon Huat and Luo Yiwei clinched the gold medals in the Men's and Women's Open Criterium categories respectively.
Said Goh, who clocked 1hr 47min 40.777sec to win the 72km race: "I am very happy (to win), I've waited quite a long time to win and have come in second a lot (of times).
"It's good to give back to friends and family who came to support me."
Luo timed 1:58:32.705 to win the Women's Open category.
Conditions were poor during the race, with constant rain making the surface of the road dangerous. The men's race, for example, saw a huge crash in the very first lap.
"People collided with one another and that cost almost half the pack to crash," said Goh, 26, who cycles full time with the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG).
"I was involved in the crash and had a broken fingernail but continued. Luckily, my bicycle was fine and I had team-mates waiting for me, so I rested and initiated the breakaway just after the U-turn."
Goh has been based in Malaysia for the last three years, training and racing with TSG, and he admits it is a great feeling to race at home.
"This is the first time that so many locals were on the podium. In the past, many foreigners won the medals so this really is a great time for the national team," he said.
"This will help motivate the national team."
The national cycling team had stepped up their SEA Games preparation by heading out to Malaysia to try out the actual Games road race route on Saturday.
Goh was not part of the group which travelled, and is also unsure if he will be competing in the event.
"So far, my primary goal is track (racing). I might be doing road, but it's not confirmed yet," he said. "I also don't want to hog too many race slots as others should have the opportunity to race too.
"It's not a big issue for me (not trying out the route), I will have a lot of opportunities to check the course."
Goh will be travelling with the Singapore team in June and July to Europe for a month in preparation for the SEA Games.
"Of course, I want to win a medal at the SEA Games. Everyone will want to win," he said.
"I think that winning here today boosts my confidence and my motivation to win at the Games."