Wong set to vie for Japan hat-trick

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 November, 2000, 12:00am

Two-time Tour of Okinawa champion Wong Kam-po is aiming to achieve a hat-trick in the 200-kilometre one-off race in Japan on Sunday.

The SAR's Asian Games road race champion is eyeing another win after taking the title in the 1995 and 1998 races. He gave the Tour a miss last year as he was competing in the World Championships B in Uruguay, where he qualified for a velodrome race at the Sydney Olympics.

'The course suits me. More than half of the course is covered by hilly terrain and it's also a long course,' said Wong, whose strengths include his muscle endurance and mountain-climbing skills.

Due to take part in his second road race after Sydney 2000 - his first was last month's World Championships in France - Wong felt he became a better all-round cyclist after a year of sprint training in the velodrome. He came 11th out of 24 riders in the point race at the Olympics.

'At the World Championships, I felt that my sprinting ability on the road had improved although my endurance hadn't returned to peak level yet.

'I'm still lacking experience when challenging world-class cyclists, as reflected in France, but I'm capable of finishing in top positions in races held in Asia,' said Wong, the former Tour of the Philippines and Tour of Taiwan champion.

The 27-year-old is poised to take on a strong field of about 20 teams after Okinawa organisers increased the scale of the event.

'In the past, the race committee only allowed each team to enter two riders, but teams have been permitted to field up to four riders this year.

'I don't know which teams will be competing this year. There were strong European and Australian teams taking part when I won it.'

The SAR team also includes Ho Siu-lun, Leung Chi-hang, Wong Ngai-ching and female rider Alexandre Yeung Ka-wah.