Wednesday October 31, 2012
Cyclists give rousing show in UCI Asia Tour season-opener
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian cyclists did well in the season-opener of the UCI Asia Tour (2012-2013) when three riders stepped on the podium of the just-concluded Tour of Hainan on Sunday.
Terengganu Cycling’s Saufi Mat Senan left a handful of sprinters in his wake to clinch victory in Stage Two of the 2 Hors category (2.HC) race by launching his attack 500m before the finish.
A Hors category race holds the highest standard in the continental Tours, which is a rung below the World Tour status-race.
Team-mate Mohd Harrif Salleh, meanwhile, was second best in a sprint finish in Stage Three. Russian sprinter Alexander Serebryakov of Team Type-1 won the stage.
In Stage Four, it was Anuar Manan’s turn to play second fiddle to Serebryakov as the Champion System sprinter was edged down the line.
Despite being so early in the season, it was a rousing performance nonetheless by the Malaysians as they seek to further stamp their mark.
Saufi had the overall classification in sight after taking Stage Two – being just two seconds behind leader Serebryakov.
But an allergic reaction ended his hopes for a superb start to the season as he pulled out from the race in Stage Eight.
“I suspect it was because of the water. The water quality there was really bad and I had rashes all over my face a day after my win. I raced in pain from the start of Stage Three,” said the 21-year-old, who is back home for the penultimate leg of the National Grand Prix circuit in Lumut on Saturday.
Champion System’s Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman also pulled out of Stage Six with a knee injury.
However, he will rejoin the team for the Tour of Taihu Lake in China, which starts from tomorrow until Nov 8.
The Tour of Hainan was won by Astana rider Dmitriy Gruzdev from Kazakhstan in 34’12:33.