Monday, 16 September 2013 | MYT 9:44 PM
Harrif wants MNCF to include sprinters in road race team
PETALING JAYA: The tussle for places in the national team for the road race event in the Myanmar SEA Games in December is on.
And Mohd Harrif Salleh wants the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) to include some sprinters in the final line-up.
The race in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, is expected to be about 162km with several climbs in the first 40km before it flattens out towards the end.
The MNCF have hinted that they will equip the six-man team with several all-rounders and climbers in their chase for the gold medal.
Harrif, who rides for Terengganu Cycling, believes the inclusion of a sprinter – like him or Anuar Manan – in the team could be the get-out-of-jail card for the team.
“The management will try to make their selection based on a perfect scenario during the race where good climbers should make the select group and race towards the end.
“But you can never predict anything in cycling. A lot of things could happen and if it goes down to a bunch sprint at the end, they would sorely miss a sprinter if they don’t have one in the team,” said Harrif, who is currently racing in the Tour of China.
Among those under the MNCF radar for the SEA Games are Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman, Amir Mustafa Rusli, Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin, Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, Mohd Rauf Nur Misbah, Suhardi Hassan and Mohd Nor Rizuan Zainal.
Surprisingly, they have also conspicuously left out Jelajah Malaysia champion Loh Sea Keong from the list.
In the last Games in Indonesia, the team consisted of Adiq, Amir, Shahrul, Suhardi, Rauf and Ng Yong Li. In the steep climb towards the finish line in Bandung, only Yong Li managed to cope with the punishing pace set by the Indonesians. Yong Li eventually finished fourth.
Hari Fitrianto of Indonesia won the gold followed by Mark Guevarra Galedo of the Philippines. Thailand’s Puchong Sai Udomsil took the bronze.
For the record, the last time Malaysia won a gold in the men’s road race was in Manila 2005 through Suhardi.
“I’m not implying that the race could end in a bunch sprint, but what we can do is be ready with the proper arsenal if it does,” said Harrif.
The final selection for the team is expected to be done next month.