After placing well in almost all Indonesian races, the Polygon-Sweet Nice team has announced it will debut in international cometition at Asia's biggest road race - Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) in Malaysia February 2 to 11. Polygon will replace the folded Wismilak as the lone Indonesian outfit in the 12th edition of the LTdL.
Mainly the squad that has five-time Kazakh national mountain bike champion Yevgeniy Yakovlev as their leader, the team is owned by cycling mad businessman-cum-directeur sportif Harijanto Tjondro. Based in Surabaya, home of the Tour of East Java, which is also organised by Harijanto, continental team Polygon have enjoyed a meteoric rise, mainly due to the presence of their two versatile Kazakh riders Yakovlev and Vyacheslav Dyadichkin, who last year finished fifth in the Asian classification of LTdL, riding for composite team Equipe Asia.
Also in the squad is Russian teenager Artemiy Timofeev. Eyes will also be out for the 21-year old Hari Fitrianto, who many tout as the next big climber out of that country, who has enjoyed a steady rise. Completing Polygon-Sweet Nice's line-up are domestiques Budi Santoso and Jaya Herwin, with the promising sprinter Robert Wijaya only being named as a reserve.
Yakovlev, who has many friends in Malaysia and often uses the country as a short training stop, said he will be all out to prove his worth in the LTdL this time around. "I'm 27-years old this year and this is when I expect my form to start being what it should be. Many people said that I showed a lot of promise when I was a junior, but still I haven't realised that potential. Polygon, gives me the opportunity to prove myself and try to improve my palmares at a decent level with races like LTdL," said Yakovlev, the polka dot jersey winner in the 2005 tour of Indonesia.
Hari, who many would like to see challenging the big guns in the mountain stages, doesn't want himself to be projected out of context. "I only can try my best. Don't go around telling people I will win this and win that," joked Hari, during the Jelajah Malaysia recently. "Of course, everybody, especially us Asians, will want to do well in this race because it is a big thing in our continent. But I think if I keep on improving, I will get somewhere sooner or later. So, that is what I will be aiming to do. Time is on my side," said Hari.
See also: 2006 Tour de Langkawi