Hong Kong rider Chin To Wong (CHACC) has one clear objective: “To finish second at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Liège”.
There is no doubt that Wong, who has been an artistic cyclist since the age of nine, is one of the few athletes capable of challenging Germany’s dominance in the Single Men event.
The man from Hong Kong has won four bronze medals at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships since 2013, most recently last year, making him the sport’s most successful Asian rider.
Nevertheless, the top two German cyclists, 2017 World Championships silver medallist Moritz Herbst (Wendlingen) and defending UCI World Champion Lukas Kohl (Kirchehrenbach), will have to make some serious errors before Chin To Wong can clinch a silver or gold medal. It has been 14 years since Germany last missed out on a one-two finish in the Single Men category.
The second Asian medal hopefuls also come from Hong Kong. The difficulty level chosen by brothers Hin and Leung Lim Tsz means they will start in fourth place in the Pairs Open event. Known by the English names Jeff and Ronald, the pair began their artistic cycling journey back in 2008.
“When we were young, our parents helped us to get involved with indoor artistic cycling,” Jeff explains. They found out about the sport via its Hong Kong website. “We both enjoy cycling very much,” he added. Their goal for Liège 2018 is simple: “To try to do better than last year and get a personal best score”.
While the duo might be expected to reach the Final 4 at their fourth World Championships, their previous appearances – twice seventh and once sixth - means a podium spot is still far from assured. The brothers will need to deliver a flawless display and hope their rivals slip up if they are to finish among the array of medal contenders from Germany and Switzerland.
Hong Kong’s artistic cycling scene owes much of its positive development to the efforts of German coach Rolf Halter at RSV Erlenbach. For more than 20 years, he has overseen an exchange programme that enables young riders from both nations to regularly visit each other’s countries. The tradition continues in 2018, as Jeff explained: “We have been staying in Erlenbach since 14 November to get some training in before the World Championships.”