There were plenty of surprises in the opening stage of the inaugural Tour of Peninsular (ToP) with Azerbaijan National Team rider Elchin Asadov clinching the victory.
In the 180.6km first stage which started at UiTM Dungun and ended at Dataran Shahbandar in Kuala Terengganu, 32-year-old Asadov had to endure lengthy travel, coming in late from Turkey on Sunday. Team Sapura Cycling (TSC) rider Christian Raileanu, who has been in strong form recently, came in a close second.
Malaysia National Team youngster Danieal Haikkal Edy Suhaidee surprised local fans by finishing third and Best Asian Rider in the stage.
21 year-old Danieal was also elated to achieve his first podium finish in a UCI Asia Tour event.
“I really wanted to do well here and gave it everything I had. Although we are the underdogs here, that did not stop me from pushing hard,” said Danieal.
“I have always dreamed of being on the podium and am so glad to be able to have achieved it here. It means a lot to me especially as this is a UCI2.1 tour.
“I have always wanted to race against top pro riders from Malaysia and abroad and I will do my best to maintain my form. This results gives me a lot of motivation to keep working hard and improving as a rider.”
Terengganu Inc’s (TSG) hopes of seeing a Harrif Saleh win on home turf did not materialise but TSG’s Nur Amirul Fakhruddin Mazuki still managed a commendable sixth in a very tough opening stage.
The second stage tomorrow will remain in Terengganu. The day will start in Kuala Terengganu and end in Chukai with a total distance of 157.4km.
Stage 1 Results
- Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan) – 3:57:26
- Cristian Raileanu (Team Sapura Cycling)
- Muhammad Danieal Haikkal Eddy Suhaidee (Malaysia)
- General Classification’s Yellow Jersey – Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan)
- Best Sprinter’s Blue Jersey – Rohan Du Plooy (ProTouch)
- King of Mountain’s Red Jersey – Aiman Cahyadi (PGN Road Cycling Team)
- Best Asian Rider’s White Jersey – Muhammad Danieal Haikkal Eddy Suhaidee (Malaysia)
- Best Team – Team Sapura Cycling and Malaysia