Mohd Harrif Salleh crosses the finish line first in the men’s Open Criterium of the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 on Saturday at Dataran Merdeka. - SHAARI CHEMAT/ The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Newly-wed Terengganu Pro Asia Team rider Mohd Harrif Salleh gave himself a perfect confidence boost ahead of next month’s Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) with a superb win in the men’s Open Criterium of the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014.
Harrif clocked 58:59 to pip compatriot Mohd Saufi Mat Senan to the finish line at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday.
Mohd Saufi was 0.039 of a second behind while New Zealand’s Rico Rogers of OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team finished third – 0.135 of a second behind. Local favourite Anuar Manan came in 0.225 of a second slower to finish fourth.
Harrif also captured the Cycle Asia King of Sprints classification crown after raking in the most number of points over the five designated sprint laps around the 1.6km circuit at Dataran Merdeka.
The 26-year-old sprinter, who married 23-year-old Nur Syahira Nordin on Jan 11, dedicated the victory to his wife.
“This was my first race after my wedding ... so, the win is a perfect gift for my wife. I’m happy to start the year on the podium,” said Harrif, who took home RM2,000 for his efforts.
“The results show that my training stint in Australia is beginning to bear fruit. It’s definitely a positive sign for me and the team ahead of the LTdL.
“I’m at 80% of my ablities right now and I still have two more competitions and another training stint in Australia before the LTdL begins (from Feb 27-March 8). Everything is going according to plan ... I believe the team will do better in this year’s edition of the LTdL.”
Men’s Open Criterium: 1. Mohd. Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team A 58:59, 2. Mohd Saufi Mat Senan (Mas) Terengganu Cycling Team B 0.039 sec behind, Rico Rogers (Nzl) OCBC Cycling Team 0.135s.