JASIN: Anuar Manan’s (pic) dream of retaining the blue jersey he won in the last edition of the Tour of Langkawi is fading away.
In the eighth stage yesterday, the Terengganu Cycling rider failed to grab any point in the intermediate sprints and he finished in 11th place to be in second place in the points classification on 75 points.
His rival, Andrea Guardini of Fernese Vini-Neri Sottoli, meanwhile, crossed the line in fourth place to increase his stranglehold onto the overall points classification. He is leads on 96 points.
A tired looking Anuar admitted that he now has a mountain to climb after falling behind the points race to Guardini in each stage.
“The heavy rain today disrupted the team’s strategy to put me in a good position up front for the finishing sprint. We could not even see who was in front of us at times,” he said.
“I have failed yet again to win a stage and now my mission to retain the blue jersey is getting tougher.”
Despite the heavy downpour, the main bunch, led by Le Tua and Drapac Professional had set a blistering pace with an average speed of 42.27kph with the former looking to prevent any breakaways that could shatter their hope of retaining the yellow jersey with Libardo Nino Corredor.
However, Jonnatha Monsalve of Androni Giocattoli, who was two seconds behind Corredor before the race, managed to sprint free to grab time bonuses in two intermediate sprints in second place on both occasions.
Neither Anuar nor Guardini were successful in scoring points in three intermediate sprints yesterday.
“There are two stages left and I want to score maximum points in each intermediate sprints. This may sound tough, but I have to win a stage to have a chance on winning the blue jersey,” said Anuar.