Cycling: Tan gears up for a different sprint at SEA Games

Singapore's cycling squad for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games is confident of winning at least 10 bronzes. Lance Tan (second from the left, standing) and Dinah Chan (front row, left) will make a third and fifth appearance at the biennial competition respe
Singapore's cycling squad for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games is confident of winning at least 10 bronzes. Lance Tan (second from the left, standing) and Dinah Chan (front row, left) will make a third and fifth appearance at the biennial competition respectively but they will be competing in new events.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Former national runner will compete in track cycling at SEA Games, hopeful of team medal

The Kuala Lumpur SEA Games marks Lance Tan's third appearance at the biennial competition, and the third time he will be competing in a different event.

The 30-year-old former Singapore sprinter won a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the 2011 Games in Indonesia and took part in the decathlon event at the 2015 edition on home soil.

This year, he will don national colours for the cycling team.

True to his athletics roots, his participation at the Aug 19-30 Games involves sprinting and a track. He is set to race in the men's individual and team sprint events.

Tan, who has about a year of experience in track cycling, believes his foundation as a sprinter has aided his transition.

"In terms of muscle groups, it's the same," he told The Straits Times. "For track cycling you need to have high cadence and I do believe my speed in running has helped in cycling."

Despite having prior Games experience, he admitted he still feels anxious ahead of this year's edition, but is hopeful of a podium finish in the team sprint event.

"It helps that I've been to the SEA Games before because I know what to expect in terms of the level of competition. I think I'm just a bit nervous because it's a different sport," he added.

The research engineer will not be the only old hand featuring in a new event. Five-time SEA Games medallist Dinah Chan, who has bagged at least one medal at every Games since 2009, will compete in the track cycling discipline in Malaysia instead of the road race category that she has cycled in for the past four editions.

The 31-year-old, an individual time trial gold medallist in 2013, revealed that switching disciplines was akin to starting from scratch. But she is still gunning for a medal.

One of the challenges faced by local track cyclists, she said, is getting used to racing on the track, as there is no velodrome in Singapore.

"The competitions that we attend around the region are very valuable," she added, noting that the hosts will probably be their toughest opponents.

"(Malaysia) are probably going to (win) a lot of gold medals, but we will not give up without a fight."

Singapore's 14-strong SEA Games cycling squad was unveiled at Shimano Cycling World at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday.

The cycling competition takes place from Aug 21-30, with 20 golds up for grabs.

Adrian Ng, Singapore's head coach (road squad), believes winning at least 10 bronzes is a realistic projection.

"I never thought of (the number of) golds, but we will definitely try to win a medal in each event (we're in)," he said. "We are not going to the SEA Games to just participate, we are there to compete."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Tan gears up for a different sprint'. Print Edition | Subscribe