KARAK, 17 October 2019 – What a day it was for Terengganu Inc (TSG) as they clinched an exciting 1-3 podium finish in the third stage of the inaugural Tour of Peninsular (ToP) through Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki and Harrif Saleh.
The third stage, which started in Kuantan and ended in Karak today, saw riders covering a total distance of 172.7km and as was the case in the opening two stages, there was plenty of action for the fans to enjoy.
Amirull and Taiyuan Miogee Cycling team’s Amir Kolahdouz Hagh (Iran) launched an attack from roughly 70km into the race and while such small-sized breakaways from far out rarely last until the finish, the duo proved otherwise this time.
Amirull, 27, took the win in 3:49:59s while Amir crossed the finish line a close second. Harrif, like he did in stage two, came in third along with the chasing peloton (+11s).
Despite being on the same time as Azerbaijan National Team rider Elchin Asadov, Amirull now leads the general classification (yellow jersey) due to his higher finish position.
Amirull’s win also saw him move into the lead in the Best Asian Rider (white jersey) and Sprint Competition (blue jersey).
PGN Road Cycling Team’s Aiman Cahyadi (Indonesia), who took full points in the climb at Srijaya (cat 4) reclaimed the mountain competition (red jersey) from Muhamad Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff (Team Sapura Cycling). Nur Aiman was second at the Srijaya KOM.
“Our team have been trying to win a stage since the opening day and I guess it was my fate to win it today,” said Amirull.
“At first I was not confident in our chances because it was a long way out and there was only two of us in the breakaway.
“But we planned it out together and decided to take it easy until the last 40km when we pushed hard until the finish.”
Amirull admitted that tomorrow’s queen stage which starts in Sungai Koyan and ends in Cameron Highlands (89.5km) will be tough but for him but there is still much in it for TSG.
“I am not a true climber but we do have riders such as Artem Ovechkin and Metkel Eyob who can climb,” added Amirull.
“The initial plan was for me to ride for them on the Cameron Highlands stage but we will discuss our strategy tonight.
“Obviously, I will try my best to keep the yellow jersey but if I am not able to I will try to hold on to the other two jerseys.”
Artem and Metkel are both just 32 seconds behind in the general classification and will have a good chance to make up time in tomorrow’s stage.
Team Sapura Cycling’s Christian Raileanu, who is just six seconds behind Amirull, is also expected to put in a strong challenge for the overall title in stage four tomorrow.