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Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 4:56:00 PM
Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 4:57:34 PM
by shamshul fitri
Mohd Harrif Salleh in a 2011 photo. Harrif doesn't think there will be a clear chance for a bunch sprint finish at the second edition of the Tour of Borneo because of the hilly terrain.
KOTA KINABALU: Mohd Harrif Salleh of Terengganu Cycling Team faces a stiff challenge for the green jersey in the second edition of the Tour of Borneo, which begins Sunday.
As the winner of the points competition in the Jelajah Malaysia in May, Harrif is expected to tackle the hilly terrain in Sabah as it’s more suited for the “mountain goats” or climbers.
“I don’t think there will be a clear-cut chance for a bunch sprint finish in the race because the terrain is hilly. But we’ll see how the race progresses each day so we can readjust our strategy,” said Hariff of the Tour, which will end on Aug 22.
“But that doesn’t mean that the team will just give up on setting up a bunch sprint. If we see that we have the chance for a bunch sprint, the boys will go for it.”
In the inaugural edition of the race, Harrif could only manage a second placing in Stage Two from Lahad Datu to Kundasang, losing to Huon Salmon Genesys’ Anthony Giacoppo in the bunch sprint.
Michael Torckler, of the now defunct Pure Black Racing outfit from New Zealand, won the overall title as well as the points competition’s green jersey.
This year’s five-stage race will cover Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Penampang and Kundasang for a total of 690km.
“The Tour of Borneo is not exactly my type of race. There are lots of climbs in the stages and the peloton could be easily split before teams can organise a bunch sprint,” said Hariff.
“But we have other options in the team this year. We have Mohd Shahrul (Mat Amin), who was eighth overall last year, and also Mohd Saufi (Mat Senan), who is also a great climber, in the team.
“The first stage will determine our conditions because we just got back from a long lay-off due to the fasting month and Hari Raya.
“We’re in no rush to push ourselves because there a many more races after this. But we’ll see how those two (Shahrul and Saufi) perform in the first stage ... perhaps they can get high placings in the overall classification.”
The other riders in the team are Mohd Zamri Salleh, Mohd Yusrizal Usoff and Saiful Anuar Aziz.
A total of 20 teams will be at the starting line from Kota Kinabalu to Tuaran Sunday.
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cycling, Tour of Borneo, Mohd Harrif Salleh, Terengganu Cycling Team
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