MARANG: Terengganu Cycling sprinter Mohd Harrif Salleh blew his chances for a podium finish in Stage Eight of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) as team Belkin put down a show of power to give Theo Bos the win.
Harrif finished just outside the top 10 in 11th spot in 5’01:58 after he did a lot of chasing in the final 400 metres of the race.
“Belkin sure did put the hammer down today because it was really fast and I didn’t expect it to be this fast,” said Harrif, who finished on the podium in 2011 and 2012.
He was lucky to escape the crash in the final two kilometres that took out team-mate Anuar Manan, but as he narrowly escaped it, he had to work hard to catch up with the front riders.
Unlike teams like Belkin and Astana, who have their sprint train drilled to pefection to protect their sprinters, Harrif was thrown into the cauldron on his own to compete against the likes of Bos and Andrea Guardini of Astana.
“I wasted a lot of energy catching up with the front group and after the final bend, I just didn’t have enough energy to fight for the sprint.
“There are two stages left for us to fight for a podium finish. I don’t know how it will turn out but I’m still motivated to get a better result,” said Harrif.