TERENGGANU Inc TSG Cycling Team sprint specialist Mohd Harrif Saleh’s never-say-die spirit saw him winning the 165.8km Stage 5 of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor, to Bandar Meru Raya, in Ipoh, Perak, yesterday.
With the finish line in sight, the 31-year-old, more fondly known as Mamat, put everything he had to edge out two other sprint specialists, NTT Pro Cycling Team’s Maximilian Richard Walscheid of Germany and Italian Matteo Pelucchi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), who came in second and third respectively.
Compatriot Anuar Manan, representing the national team, finished in 9th place out of a cast of 117 riders. The last time Mohd Harrif won a stage in the prestigious LTdL was in 2019, which was Stage 2, from Dataran Senawang to Melaka. The head juror awarded the same time, three hours 39 minutes and 42 seconds, after the top 10 riders finished in a bunch.
The Terengganu-born Mohd Harrif told reporters afterwards that he was very happy to have won the stage and thanked his teammates for their support to enable him to create history in this 25th edition of the race.
He dedicated the win to the TSG management and all Malaysians for their undivided support for him.
“It has yet to sink in. Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah). My teammates were of great help. Today, I was in a good position because the route was wide, so I knew I had the edge in making the dash to the finish line,” he explained.
Asked about the Stage 6 today, Mohd Harrif said it had some climb zones, but was still optimistic of a podium finish.
Sharing his sentiments was TSG head coach Jeremy Hunt who was surprised, but happy with Mohd Harrif’s unexpected victory.
Stage 6 is over 150.9km from Taiping to Penang and has three sprint zones — Bagan Serai, Parit Buntar and Balik Pulau — besides two hill terrains, in Teluk Kumbar and Teluk Bahang.
The Malaysian Reserve, 12 February 2020