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Walscheid concedes Harrif's 'the better rider'

Points classification leader Max Walscheid admitted that he lost to a better rider — Harrif Saleh — in Stage Five of the Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) yesterday.

Walscheid, of WorldTeam NTT Pro Cycling, was gunning for a second stage win after triumphing in Stage Three on Sunday.

However, Harrif pipped him to the finish line.

“I think we showed a pretty good performance as a team again today,” said the 1.99m German.

“I’m also pretty happy with my sprint.

“I think I showed a very powerful finish but one rider (Harrif) was just faster.

“We (team) spoke about the potential contenders before the stage and he (Harrif) was on the list.

“Still, I was determined not to let anybody pass.

“I think it was a pretty amazing sprint. I was fast, but he was faster. So, I have to congratulate him.”

Walscheid, who remained in charge of the Petronas green jersey with 46 points, added that his team will probably take it easier in Stage Six from Taiping to Penang today.

“As far as I’ve heard, the stage tomorrow will be pretty hard (for sprinters).

“We might take it a little bit easier as we were pretty much left alone in the front (of the peloton) today,” added the 26-year-old.

Meanwhile, general classification (GC) leader Danilo Celano (Team Sapura Cycling) is relieved that everything went according to plan yesterday.

“The peloton was a bit nervous today because all the sprinters wanted a bunch sprint finish, but we have a strong team and were never in danger,” said the Italian.

“Obviously our goal is to keep the yellow jersey until the end.”

Celano took charge of the Petronas yellow jersey after coming in second in the Putrajaya-Genting Highlands queen stage on Monday. Vino-Astana Motor’s Yevgeniy Fedorov, who held the yellow jersey for the first three stages, was second in the GC standings — 30 seconds behind Celano.

New Straits Times, 12 February 2020

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