CYCLING/ TOUR OF TAIWAN: Pile-up denies Saufi spot on podium
A MALAYSIAN victory was within grasp until Saufi Mat Senan crashed in the final 50 metres of Stage Three of the Tour of Taiwan in Taoyuan County yesterday, but Adiq Husainie Othman salvaged the best result by a Malaysian thus far in the race.
The 22-year-old Saufi was up front with a breakaway bunch and was certain to make a top five finish until a pile-up happened as the riders rushed for the race's first mountain top finish in the tour atop Kanpanzan.
With the crash ending the breakaway, the first chase group of 31 riders caught up and Adiq Husainie of the Champion System team placed sixth.
Australia's Anthony Giacoppo of the Genesys Pro Cycling team registered his second win of the Tour, having won the opening stage in Taipei on Friday, but he saw the overall leader's jersey switch from Saxo Bank's Takashi Miyazawa to Drapac Cycling's Rhys Pollock.
That exchange brought about a futile end to an aggressive day for the Terengganu Cycling Team, as coach Sebastien Duclos planned for a victory after two quiet days for the five-man team who were slowed by the cold weather.
"We tried to go for the win today (yesterday), first with Shinichi (Fukushima) in a breakaway which got caught. Then Saufi went for it and would have got at least a top five finish, but then in the final 50 metres he was involved in a crash," said Duclos. "Thankfully, Saufi is not injured."
Terengganu do have South Korean rider Jang Chan Jae challenging for the points classification lead, currently in second spot with 12 points, eight adrift of Taiwan's Feng Chun Kai with four stages remaining.
Today's Stage Four covers 140km in Taichung City.
Results -- Stage Three (130km from Taoyuan County to Kanpanzan): 1 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Genesys 3:11.06s, 2 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni-Venezuela, 3 Hossein Nateghi (Irn) Tabriz Petrochemical, 4 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo Bank, 5 Ben Grenda (Gbr) Rapha Condor-Sharp, 6 Adiq Husainie Othman (Mas) Champion System ... 33 Saufi Mat Senan (Mas) Terengganu (all same time), 43 Shahrul Mat Amin (Mas) Terengganu 3:11.47s, 66 Amir Mustafa Rusli (Mas) Drapac 3:13.15s, 88 Anuar Manan (Mas) Champion System 3:25.03s;
General classification: 1 Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac 7:17.01s, 2 Wong Kam Po (HK) same time, 3 Dirk Muller (Ger) Nutrixxion-Abus +04s.
Points classification: 1 Feng Chun Kai (Tai) Action 20 pts, 2 Jang Chan Jae (Kor) Terengganu 12, 3 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Saxo Bank 11.
Mountains classification: 1 Feng Chun Kai (Tai) Action 13 pts, 2 Behnam Khalilikhosroshahi (Iran) Tabriz Petrochemical 9, 3 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Genesys 8, 4 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Terengganu 8. By Arnaz M. Khairul