Anuar and Fauzan just miss out on historic win in Stage Three
BANTING: Two Malaysians Anuar Manan and Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lufti came within a whisker of making history on a day Asians ruled the roost in Stage Three of the Tour of Langkawi yesterday.
In the end, South Korea’s Lee Won-jae of the Seoul Cycling Team pipped them both to the top spot in the longest stage of the Tour – the 209.4km Sitiawan-Banting race.
Won-jae rode home in 4’37:43 while Anuar, of Le Tua, and Mohd Fauzan, donning national colours, clocked 4’37.48 with two other riders – Yan Dong Xing (Trek Marco Polo) and Koji Fukushima (Meitan Hompo-GDR).
Anuar, however, can take pride in the fact that created a first for the host nation when he took the sprinter’s green jersey with his second-placed finish.
For Won-jae, it was his first stage win on the Tour.
Anuar made sure of the sprint jersey after winning all three intermediate sprints yesterday, starting with a successful five-man breakaway just before the first sprint at Sungai Besar at the 78km mark.
“There is a feeling of dissatisfaction despite my second place finish. I thought that being the sprinter in the five-man breakaway, I could have done better than finishing second,” said Anuar.
“At the same time, I must admit that I am proud to wear the green jersey as this is the first time that a Malaysian is donning it. I must thank my team for all the hard work.”
The foreign riders were clearly surprised at the Asian domination.
“Prior to coming to Malaysia, I only knew of Team Meitan Hompo, who travel to Europe to compete in some of the races. I knew that the Asian riders were quite aggressive and they proved that today (yesterday),” said team Bouygues Telecom’s Matthieu Sprick, who retains yellow jersey.
“The win for Lee is good for cycling and also for the Tour.”
Today’s 169km Stage Four will start at Port Dickson and end in Batu Pahat.