Road cycling rankings to jazz up local scene

(From left) Adrian Ng, head coach; Samuel Yang, sport & technical manager; Hing Siong Chen, honorary secretary; Jeffrey Goh, president; Bastian Dohling, vice-president (road); and Muhammad Hairul Nazwa, vice-president (BMX). The SCF introduced a new
(From left) Adrian Ng, head coach; Samuel Yang, sport & technical manager; Hing Siong Chen, honorary secretary; Jeffrey Goh, president; Bastian Dohling, vice-president (road); and Muhammad Hairul Nazwa, vice-president (BMX). The SCF introduced a new structured ranking and points system yesterday to cover the four road events this year.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Road cyclists will soon get the chance to vie for the status of being the nation's No. 1, as the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) announced the introduction of a structured ranking and points system yesterday.

It will come into effect on March 13 at the OCBC Cycle Road Race, the first of four road events held this year.

The ranking and points system is part of SCF's plan to develop an "ecosystem" in the road cycling scene, said its sport and technical manager Samuel Yang.

He added: "(The objective) is to make cycling more vibrant in Singapore, not just at the high performance level but also in terms of high participation levels."

He explained that it would also "create more winners, more opportunities for people to celebrate and come for events".

"On top of (a) national champion when we have our nationals, we will have a points ranking champion as well, so this is the added depth of the winners," he added.

The system will be introduced for road cycling first, before other disciplines like mountain bike and BMX are included in the future.

Riders will accumulate points from the four road events this year, which also include the OCBC Cycle National Road Championship (criterium and individual time trial) and the OCBC Cycle 2016 Speedway Club Championship.

If a rider finishes first in any of the races, he or she gains 13 points, while those who finish after will subsequently have fewer points. Points will be totalled up after the conclusion of the last race at the end of the year, with riders' tallies reset at the beginning of each year.

The system, which will take only the four local races into account, complements the SCF's national athlete selection process, which was previously based on ranking and times in terms of distance.

SCF president Jeffrey Goh said: "What SCF wants from now on is to have a transparent system where everyone can see for themselves who deserves to join the national team.

"You can be a national cyclist from previous years, but that doesn't mean you keep up with the time trials."

On why overseas races are not considered at the moment, Yang said: "Outside Singapore will be a different point system... at the moment I can't see how I can translate that into (the new) point system, because it may not be fair to people who are only doing local races. I don't see that in the near future."

National cyclist Low Ji Wen, who races overseas too and is part of Laos-based continental team CCN Cycling Team, has mixed feelings about the new system.

The 26-year-old, who cycled in countries like Luxembourg and Iran last year, said: "I think at least for the current generation, we have earned our wings through racing overseas and having an extensive race programme. I don't really think it should be discounted.

"SCF has only so many people who are in the racing part of it. Whether they tap on it is up to them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'Road cycling rankings to jazz up local scene'. Print Edition | Subscribe