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Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Harrif savours win in Sharjah
HARRIF Saleh ended his year-long victory drought in emphatic fashion yesterday as the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) swamped the opposition to take victory in the fourth and final stage of the Tour of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
The victory came a day after Adiq Husainie Othman made a long overdue appearance on the podium after finishing third after playing a role in a breakaway that settled the 164 kilometre Stage Three from Khorfakkan Corniche to Al Hatae.
For Harrif the return to the top step of the podium was more than a morale boost, it ended a year of much uncertainty in his career and launched him back into orbit as among Asia’s top sprinters amidst a strong field in the Tour of Sharjah.
“It is fantastic to have a UCI Asia Tour stage win again, especially here with such a strong field.
“We were frustrated in the earlier stages as breakaways won.
“But today (yesterday) we had a chance for a bunch sprint and my team didn’t let go of this opportunity,”said Harrif, 26.
“We worked really well together and the team put maximum effort in the bunch sprint.
“I just could not let them down in the final sprint.”
All six TSG riders were in the decisive 36-man breakaway that formed the bunch sprint to the finish line and after ending his own victory drought with two wins in the Tour of Khatulistiwa in Indonesia three weeks ago, this time Anuar Manan played a lead-out role to his teammate Harrif.
TSG coach Sebastien Duclos described the day’s job as one that went perfectly as far as teamwork was concerned.
“There were strong crosswinds with 25 kilometres to go, but we had all six of our riders in the breakaway group.
“In this situation, our boys needed to take control as a team to ensure our advantage and they did that perfectly,” said Duclos.
”Anuar made the jump with 500m to go and then opened the door for Harrif to have a clean sprint to the finish at 250m.
“Harrif won easily and Anuar finished fifth.
“On top of that, we have Adiq finishing seventh in the general classification, so we can go home satisfied.
“It’s good early season form the boys are showing.”
Harrif Saleh (centre) tops the podium after his first victory in a year in Stage Four of the Tour of Sharjah, flanked by second-placed Abdelbasat Hanachi of Algeria (left) and Mohamed Mirza Yousif of the UAE (right).