LANGKAWI, Feb 14 -- The success achieved by several national cyclists in previous editions of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) has inspired Muhamad Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff to continue the tradition of excellence among Malaysians in Asia’s premier cycling race.
The Team Sapura Cycling (TSC) racer, who became the first Malaysian to win the red jersey as the King of Mountain in the 25th LTdL today, said he was excited to see former national rider Anuar Manan win the green jersey as the King of Sprint in 2010 and Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman clinch the white jersey as the best Asian rider in the 2016 edition.
Coincidentally, all three riders are from Terengganu, a "factory" for producing quality riders for Malaysia on the international stage.
"Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah), having joined LTdL for five years, this is my best achievement and the success is for all Malaysians. I would like to dedicate this success to both my parents who have supported me in each race.
"Not forgetting team manager Ahmad Sayuti Mohd Zahit and my teammates who were very supportive; thank you very much to everyone who prayed for my success," Muhamad Nur Aiman said when met by reporters after the end of the eighth and final stage of LTdL 2020 here today.
Muhammad Nur Aiman, 22, held on to the red jersey he won in the third stage in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday after collecting 34 points, followed by his closest challengers, French rider Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Italian rider Samuele Battistella of the NTT team Pro Cycling Team, who collected 23 and 18 points respectively after eight stages.
He added that the success would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of his teammates, crew members and experienced national rider Mohd Harrif Saleh of the Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team, who has given him a lot of encouragement and support to get involved in cycling since he was young.
Meanwhile, Mohd Harrif was clearly thrilled with the victory of Muhamad Nur Aiman and was confident that the young rider had a bright future on the international cycling stage.
Describing Muhamad Nur Aiman as his younger brother, Mohd Harrif admitted that he was not surprised by the success as the two had been through a lot since representing Terengganu in several national tournaments, as well as being teammates in TSG.
Muhamad Nur Aiman had joined the TSC team from TSG in 2018.
"We've been cycling for fun since we were kids and he used to come to my house, we were always exchanging bicycle equipment and that's what kept us close until now.
"I am proud of his success, and there is no jealousy in Sapura or TSG winning any championship," Mohd Harrif said.
Asked about his performance in LTdL 2020, Mohd Harrif acknowledged that snatching two stage wins was his best performance since making his debut in the 2008 edition, adding that Malaysian riders’ success this year showed that they can compete with world tour teams and pro teams.
He had won the fifth stage from Kuala Kubu Bharu to Ipoh on Tuesday, before claiming victory in the seventh stage from Bagan to Alor Setar yesterday.
Mohd Harrif won his first title in the 2019 edition in the second stage from Dataran Senawang to Melaka.
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