Tang leads race for Beijing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2008, 12:00am

Newly crowned Tour of South China Sea champion Tang Wang-yip is a front-runner for the Olympic road-race berth, but he must continue to impress the selectors.

Hong Kong coach Shen Jinkang said Tang, 24, and two other youngsters - Wu Kin-san, 22, and Lam Kai-tsun, 23, - were under consideration for the Beijing Games. Shen said he would not make recommendations until a series of races ends in April.

'Firstly, we have to wait for the results of the two remaining track World Cup Classics as well as the world championships to find out whether Wong Kam-po can qualify in the points race,' said the coach. 'If Wong can make it, we will then decide who will take the road-race berth.'

Wong, Hong Kong's strongest rider, won the individual road-race berth with his fourth-place finish in the world B championships in South Africa last year, but the two-time Olympic veteran has already said he would prefer not to take part in the road race in Beijing because he wanted to focus on the track events.

Wong now stands a good chance of making it on the track following a impressive performance in the Beijing World Cup Classic early last month.

This gives Tang, Wu and Lam the chance to make their Olympic debut. They will all ride in the Tour of Malaysia, which starts next week, and the Tour of Langkawi next month.

Another Hong Kong team member, Chan Chun-hing, who will join the trio for the two Malaysian tours, has already made it to Beijing in the mountain-bike cross-country thanks to a third place at the Asian Championships last year.

'I will see how they perform in the two races before making the recommendation to the Hong Kong Cycling Association,' Shen said.

Tang and Wu are good climbers and may find themselves suited to the hilly course near the Great Wall where the Olympic road race will take place. Lam is a strong sprinter.