SETIU-BORN Nur Aiman Zariff gave local fans much to cheer about during the second stage of the Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Kuala Terengganu to Kerteh yesterday.
Aiman was part of a five-man breakaway, established 20km into the race, and at one point the Team Sapura Cycling rider was also the virtual rider of the general classification (GC) as the group had led the peloton by five minutes.
Though Aiman and the group were eventually caught, which was no surprise by any means, the 22-year-old can still hold his head high as he won all three intermediate sprints at Chendering, Rantau Abang and Bandar Al Muktaffi Billah Shah.
Aiman is determined to keep pushing hard in the remaining stages despite suffering minor injuries in a crash within 3km of the finish yesterday.
“I train on these roads (in Terengganu), and I know them well. The goal today (yesterday) was to grab as many points and bonus seconds from the intermediate sprints and I am glad I was able to do that,” said Aiman.
“I was not pushing 100 per cent as I still need to save my legs for the following stages.
“The goal tomorrow (today) will be to do the same — get into the breakaway group and fight for the bonus seconds to help me move up the GC and Asian classification.
“The third stage (today) will be quite challenging and it would be great if I could get an advantage by reaching the (base of) Genting Sempah climb first.”
Aiman is currently fourth in the GC and third in the Asian classification, one minute and 24 seconds behind Kazakhstan's Yevgeniy Fedorov who leads both classes.
New Straits Times, 9 February 2020