Posts Tagged ‘Koji Fukushima’

BANTING (11 Feb, 2008) – Malaysia’s Anuar Manan created sporting history for the hosts when he sensationally finished second in Stage 3 today to claim the nation’s first-ever green jersey on a day when South Korean Lee Won Jae won his first stage in Le Tour de Langkawi.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 - Stage 3

Anuar won all three intermediate sprints and was aiming for a storming finish in Banting when he was caught by Won Jae one kilometer from the end. The duo paved the way for a remarkable day for the Asian riders who took up the top five spots today. Continue Reading »

According to Chee Sen, Koji Fukushima, one of the five who break away from the peleton and finish the race 1 min ahead of the rest, was riding half way and he saw the “9 inch nails bed”, he took his socks and shoes off and wanting to try it out. Immediately, there were 2 officers trying to stop him from doing that.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 Stage 3 performance nail dancing
Pictures by Chee Sen

Continue Reading »

KUALA LUMPUR – Meitan Hompo GDR aims to finish at the top of the standings in the best Asian rider for Le Tour de Langkawi 2008 which pedals off in Alor Star, Kedah on 9 Feb.

The Japanese team’s captain Shinichi Fukushima said it was important for riders to set ambitious targets and for his team, winning the Asian rider was theirs this time around.

Meitan Hompo

“I know (Ng) Yong Li has said he wants to finish in the top five – but I told him to look at finishing No. 1 in the Asian classification,” said Shinichi, at the press conference to announce 100PLUS as the official isotonic drink for this year’s LTdL. Continue Reading »

KUALA LUMPUR – For 10 days in last year’s Le Tour de Langkawi, local ace Loh Sea Keong captured the hearts of the Malaysian fans with his combative performances. As a result, thousands of fans braved the scorching heat to cheer the young rider on all the way to the end of the Tour.

And now he’s back for more. Sea Keong is returning for the 13th edition of Asia’s biggest cycling event from Feb 9-17 with renewed vigour and ambition. A year wiser and still only 22-years-old, the rider from Kuala Krai, Kelantan is determined to put on a display that will completely win over the local fans.

His team, previously known as Discovery Channel-Marco Polo, completed their last race of 2007 in the Tour of South China Sea. This year, the team has been re-named Trek-Marco Polo, with the famed American bicycle manufacturers as their main sponsors.

Realising the opportunity to produce results in a high level race such as LTdL may be limited for Asian riders, Sea Keong said it was important to show fighting spirit and not give in to fate.

“One thing I realised during last year’s LTdL was that people, particularly local cycling fans are not really that ignorant. After so many years of high level racing, people here now know and appreciate how hard we have to work. That was why, despite not winning any stages, people appreciated the effort I put into trying to achieve something,” said Sea Keong.

His best result came in Stage Seven of the race last year, when he formed part of a nine-man breakaway that succeeded and Sea Keong, totally exhausted from the effort, rolled home in seventh to emerge the first Malaysian to succeed in a breakaway in LTdL’s 12 year history. But still he lived to attack again the next day.

It was an attacking show that began on the second stage of last year’s race, mainly due to a Discovery Channel-Marco Polo team which was depleted by three early retirements. Without a strong team to back or be backed by, Sea Keong launched his memorable daily attack routine which won him many admirers, some even calling him the Malaysian version of Japanese breakaway demon Koji Fukushima.


Steffen Weigold (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Sandy
Casar (Francais des Jeux),Koji Fukushima (Nippo-Meitan Hompo), during the 12
laps criterium of the Stage 10 of Le Tour de Langkawi, on February 11, 2007
in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: ATP Image/ HAZRIN YEOB MEN SHAH)

“I was driven last year. I had nothing to lose. But you must remember that I’m still a young rider with the team. My main goal is to learn and gain experience. It might not have to be an attacking show in every race,” said Sea Keong.

Sweetest of all last year was his solo attack entering his home town of Kuala Krai on Stage Four of LTdL, where a large part of the population lined the roads to provide a welcome fit for a hero.

“I will do that again this year. I know the race will be having some really big names this year, so it will be even tougher. But if we keep on trying, a breaking away each day, you never know what will happen. If I sit in the bunch, waiting, I know what will happen. Nothing,” said Sea Keong.

“Most important is to get to ride. I’m confident that the team has enough trust in me to line me up in a big race like LTdL, despite some good new signings in the team. So, first of all, it will be team orders. If the boss gives me a ticket to attack, you can bet that I’ll do it, over and over again,” he added.

Big signings for the Trek-Marco Polo outfit come in the form of Chinese former Discovery Channel Pro Team rider Li Fuyu, who makes a return after the Pro Tour outfit folded at the end of last year. He joins another promising signing from Giant Asia, Australian Jai Crawford, who many will remember, finished an astonishing fifth in the Genting Highlands stage of LTdL last year.

Russian strongman Sergey Kudentsov will be the team’s main sprinter and will be backed by Japan’s Ken Onodera and another Chinese rider Liu Yilin, apart from the presence of Sea Keong. This line-up is subject to change, depending on the availability of the team’s new Dutch signing from the Rabobank Pro Tour team, Leon Van Bon.

Meanwhile, a total of 25 teams will grace the 13th edition of the prestigious LTdL. With the increased participation and the return of the Pro Tour teams, combined with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who are the main organizers for the event next year, the LTdL 2008 is set to be the best ever since its inception in 1996.

The Tour is also sanctioned by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Asian Cycling Confederation.

One of the major differences in the forthcoming Tour is the idea of taking it closer to the people. To achieve this, more events will be organised on the ground which means more carnival-like activities at all start and finish venues. One of the side events to be included will be cycling clinics.

One of the priorities for the Tour next year is to promote cycling at the grass root level. This will be done via the Rukun Tetangga and Kampung Baru programmes. One of the other key messages will be to encourage more Malaysians to take up cycling as a means to a healthier lifestyle.

Trek-Marco Polo (provisional line-up): Jai Crawford (Aus), Sergey Kudentsov (Rus), Loh Sea Keong (Mas), Li Fuyu (Chn), Liu Yilin (Chn) Ken Onodera (Jap).

Kuala Lumpur: His fourth straight presence in Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2008 already makes promising Malaysian Ng Yong Li stand out in the crowd of world class riders, as he has never competed in the race with the same team twice.


Having made his debut in Asia’s biggest cycling event with the Proton T-Bikes team in 2005, the rider from Batu Pahat made a return with composite team Equipe Asia in 2006.

In the 12th edition of the race last year, Yong Li was riding historically as Malaysia’s first ever professional cyclist with Portuguese team Vitoria-ASC.

This time around, he has signed for the Japanese Meitan-Hompo GDR, and believes he has a team that shares the same dream and ironically the same target – of earning a ride in the Tour de France by 2010.

The team features two of only three Asian stage winners in LTdL’s history in brothers Shinichi and Koji Fukushima. But as the sole climber in all of the 12 riders in the team’s roster for the 2007-2008 season, Yong Li has a bigger responsibility.


Picture: Koji Fukushima

Known for his climbing ability, Yong Li almost secured a top 10 finish in the Cameron Highlands stage last year, having been positioned sixth in the penultimate climb leading to the finish.

A crash in the final three kilometres not only ruined his chances in that stage, in put him out of contention for the Asian riders’ jersey.

Meitan-Hompo GDR is currently based at their regular pre-season training camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand and will be flying to Malaysia only shortly before the start of LTdL 2008 in Alor Star, Kedah on February 9.

The month spent there has given Yong Li the chance to get to know his new team, although he has raced against them on a number of occasions before.

“I’ve been told by the team manager Akira Asada that I’ve got a bigger responsibility with this team, not just in LTdL, but more importantly in the European calendar, where we’ll spend most of our time this year,” said 22-year old Yong Li.

“As I’m the only climber in the whole team, my plans will be for the mountain top finishes. What is more important is the team and I share the same aspirations. My target since I went to Europe in 2005, was to make it to the Tour de France by 2010. This team wants to be the first Asian team to do so in 2010, so we’ve gelled right from the beginning,” added Yong Li, who started his career in the European peloton with Spanish team Wurth-Liberty Seguros in 2005.

“The first plan is to move up from continental to profesional continental team and the management are working hard on that. Once we’ve done that, we will earn some wildcard entries into Pro Tour races, then establish ourselves from there. So, since LTdL will be the first race of the year for me, I’ll probably be heading there with 80 percent form and build up for the rest of the year from there.”

This team, apart from Giant Asia, are the Asian teams never to be discounted in LTdL as they have proven twice that they are capable of winning stages – Koji did it in the Grik to Tanah Merah stage in 2005 and Shinichi in Stage Seven of the LTdL from Kuantan to Karak last year.

Koji is undoubtedly among the most popular riders each time he makes his way to LTdL. Playing the harmonica for fans and dishing out a few words of Bahasa Malaysia along the way are just part of his repertoire, marked mainly by his neverending eagerness to breakaway during the race.

They also come this year with a proven time-trialist in Thailand’s Sea Games individual time trial gold medal winner Prajak Mahawong, while Japan’s Takashi Miyazawa will again be the fast man the team counts on in bunch sprint finishes.

Taiwan’s Wang Kyi is expected to make his debut in LTdL with the team and at just 19-years old, is expected to be the youngest rider in the field this year. Shinichi at 36-years old, is likely to be one of the oldest.

Equipe Asada (provisional line-up): Shinichi Fukushima (Jap), Koji Fukushima (Jap), Ng Yong Li (Mas), Prajak Mahawong (Tha), Takashi Miyazawa (Jap), Wang Kyi (Tai).

Meanwhile, a total of 25 teams will grace the 13th edition of the prestigious LTdL. With the increased participation and the return of the Pro Tour teams, combined with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who are the main organizers for the event next year, the LTdL 2008 is set to be the best ever since its inception in 1996.

The Tour is also sanctioned by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Asian Cycling Confederation.

One of the major differences in the forthcoming Tour is the idea of taking it closer to the people. To achieve this, more events will be organised on the ground which means more carnival-like activities at all start and finish venues. One of the side events to be included will be cycling clinics.

One of the priorities for the Tour next year is to promote cycling at the grass root level. This will be done via the Rukun Tetangga and Kampung Baru programmes. One of the other key messages will be to encourage more Malaysians to take up cycling as a means to a healthier lifestyle.