While teams like the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team used the Tour de Langkawi as a warm-up race to gain form and race fitness, others took the race far more seriously. Wismilak (pronounced wish-me-luck) fell into the latter group, and as Anthony Tan discovered, Indonesia's one and only professional cycling team has a 10-year plan of making it into the big time.
The tension at the start was palpable. It was a cloudy day, but being the dry season in Malaysia, there was no escape from the heat.
There was also no way out for the 129 riders left in the race, who were about to tackle the hardest stage of the 10th edition of the Tour de Langkawi, a 97.9 kilometre leg from Kuala Kubu Bahru to Genting Highlands. The 17 kilometre, 1716 metre ascent to Genting invariably decides the ultimate winner, so it was no surprise to see nervous chatter among riders, teams and the media.
Maybe it was nervous energy that led to Wismilak's Tonton Susanto attacking from the base of the climb the year before, staying away until five or six kilometres to go. "With Tonton, we've had to hold him back," says director Scott Guyton about his team's strategy for the day. "We've told him this year, he can't do anything until three k to go. We've told him to let the big boys play; if he can follow them, then that's great."
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