Cycling / Jelajah Malaysia: Anuar wins again despite setbacks
Anuar scored his second win yesterday.
NURSING a rising temperature and a sore throat, and despite his two teammates being taken out by questionable tactics, Anuar Manan was still too fast for the rest as he bagged his second straight win in Stage Three of the Jelajah Malaysia from Bandar Hilir to Batu Pahat yesterday.
Anuar, 21, took yesterday’s win in style, and then stated that his team now looked strong enough to better the two stage wins registered in last year’s race despite key rider Ahmad Haidar Anuawar landing in hospital after being knocked to the ground by the MCF Cycling Team’s Harrif Salleh as he and Sayuti Zahit provided cover for Anuar 1.5 kilometres from the finish. That crash took out six riders.The expected repeat duel of Anuar and Trek-Marco Polo’s Russian sprinter Sergey Kudentsov was joined by Iran’s Tabriz Petrochemical rider Hossein Nateghi this time around and Kudentsov bit the dust, still without a win and having to settle for third after being disappointed with second in Stage Two on Tuesday.A threatening seven-man breakaway, that included 20-year-old national team rider Faris Abdul Razak, brought out a powerful show by the Le Tua line-up, which drove the peloton and cut the attack’s four-minute lead within the space of 10km and sole aspirant Makoto Ijima of the Japanese national team was left to fight along entering the final five kilometres. Ijima was gobbled up by a fast peloton three kilometres from the finish.Ijima, 37, however, did cause some damage in being unchallenged in the breakaway as he raised his tally to 13 points in the battle of the sprinters as he went almost unchallenged in the latter two of three intermediate sprints on offer yesterday. That closed the gap on Anuar’s lead in the points classification to six and he now does not have the cushion of teammate Sayuti holding on to second spot. Anuar did bag top points in the first intermediate sprint 44.9km into yesterday’s stage in Bukit Pasir.
China’s Trek-Marco Polo rider Li Fuyu maintained his grip on the overall leader’s red jersey with the bunched finish yesterday.”This win must go to my teammates, who really worked very well today (yesterday). In the last 25km, it was them who drove the peloton and we caught the breakaway really fast. We had already studied the finish and we knew that the last kilometre was one straight road all the way to the finish, so I knew I had to start my sprint early,” said Anuar.