Cycling/Jelajah Malaysia: Fauzan bucks docile approach

NST Online> 8/1/2008


IT looks like a good start to the year as for once, the usual docile approach to international races by national team riders was put to an end by a fired-up Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi in Stage One of the Jelajah Malaysia yesterday.

The 21-year-old did not win the stage as he had quietly planned, but earned himself some respect for the brave move he made in inviting the main climbers onto his wheel 68 kilometres into the 179.9km stage from Putrajaya to Seremban.

The youngster from Penang had two things in mind – the polka dot jersey and the stage win, but it simply stopped working for him 15km from the finish.

“I’m disappointed. I was fooled because I was behind Tonton (Susanto) in the (13-man) breakaway and we were working. I was waiting for my turn to take the pull, but then I suddenly saw that Tonton had blown out.

“He was flat and the guys in front of us already had a reasonable gap. The finish was coming and the pace of the front group had already increased, so we got dropped,” said Fauzan, who eventually had to be satisfied with a 15th place finish.

That left Fauzan and seven other riders dropped by the leading pack of six, which went all the way to the finish, resulting in Trek-Marco Polo’s Li Fuyu registering himself as the first UCI Asia Tour stage winner of the year.

By capturing full points at the final intermediate sprint at the 91.5km point at Kuala Pilah, Fauzan put himself in contention for the points classification blue jersey (the Jelajah organisers have switched to blue from green for the colour of this jersey), as he shares second spot on five points with Le Tua’s Sayuti Zahit and they are just a point behind leader Anuar Manan, also of Le Tua.

Fauzan and the young national squad have promised an aggressive show throughout the remaining stages.

Today’s flat 139.5km Stage Two from Seremban to Malacca should see them trying to line up sprinter Zamri Salleh to do some damage.


~ by missjewelz on January 10, 2008.

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