The 31-year-old became the first Malaysian rider to win two stages in a single edition of LTdL after taking the high-speed sprint finish ahead of Italian Matteo Pelucchi (Bardiani CSF) and Australian Taj Jones (ARA Sunshine Coast) in the 130.4 Stage Seven from Bagan to Alor Setar.
Harrif, from Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team, had won Stage Five of the race from Kuala Kubu Baru to Ipoh on Tuesday and now has three wins in total, making him the most successful Malaysian rider in the history of LTdL.
The Kuala Terengganu-born Harrif had won Stage Two from Senawang to Melaka in the 2019 edition.
“This is huge for me. I expected to win again today because of the confidence I got from my first victory.
“It was a very fast sprint at the end of a long straight road. But as I was following green jersey Richard Walscheid (Germany), I saw the road was open for me to go past, so I gave it my everything,” said Harrif, who is only the 15th Asian rider stage winner in LTdL history.
“As a teenager, I always went to see LTdL when it passed my hometown (Kuala Terengganu).
“I have a picture of myself getting autographs from Koji Fukushima [the second Asian stage winner in 2005). Being an Asian and winning in the Pro Tour events makes me very happy,” said Harrif, who was toying with the idea of retirement towards the end of 2018 but found new motivation, thanks to his young family.
“My condition and my motivation were not good but I managed to come back to a good level, thanks to my family. My five-year-old son is very supportive of my career.
“When I see him excited about my results, I want to carry on winning for him,” added Harrif, who was also motivated by what track cyclist Azizul has achieved.
“He is the best example of an athlete who does not fear the opposition and gives his all to bringing glory to the country despite being considered too short for track cycling.
“He inspired me not to give up easily. Many of us do give up easily and I hope I have showed that anything is possible.”
Italian Danilo Celano of Team Sapura Cycling held on to the yellow jersey, leading Kazakhstan’s Yevgeniy Fedorov of Vino-Astana Motors by 26 seconds.
The final Stage 8 today will see a mix of intermediate climbs and sprints sector through a distance of 108km from Dataran Lang to Kuah.
STAGE SEVEN RESULTS
Bagan to Alor Setar (130.4km): 1. Mohd Hariff Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team, 2. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane, 3. Taj Jones (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, 4. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Nippo Delko One Provence, 5. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, 6. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane, 7. Mohd Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil (Mas) Malaysia National Team, 8. Tristan Ward (Aus) Team BridgeLane, 9. Kakeru Omae (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team, 10. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Team Sapura Cycling.
(The same time of two hours 53 minutes and 18 seconds were awarded to the top 10 finishers after they crossed the finish line in a bunch group)Yellow Jersey (Overall Leader): 1. Danilo Celano (ITA) Team Sapura Cycling 24’10:51, 2. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 24’11:17, 3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team 24’11:26.
Green Jersey (Best Sprinter): 1. Maximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) 47, 2. Taj Jones (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 45, 3. Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mas) Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team 42.
Red Jersey (King of Mountain): 1. Mohd Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff (Mas) 29, 2. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 20, 3. Kevin Rivera Serrano (Crc) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 15.White Jersey (Best Asian Rider): 1. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Vino-Astana Motors 24’ 11:16, 2. Hideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo Delko One Provence 24’12:24, 3. Fung Ka Hoo (Hkg) HKSI Pro Cycling Team 24’14:44.
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