KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team's (TSG) riders fought hard but were outgunned by the big boys at the business end of the inaugural Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium today.
Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) took the win in one hour, 19 minutes and 47 seconds, with Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) crossing the line second and third, respectively.
TSG's Zamri Saleh, Goh Choon Huat and Wan Abdul Rahman Hamdan finished together with the peloton, 29 seconds behind the winners.
Harrif Saleh, who was not feeling well, dropped out of the race.
The riders completed 20 laps of a 3.2km circuit.
Vingegaard, Froome, Nibali, Simon Geschke (Cofidis) and Enric Mas (Movistar) attacked with two laps to go. Choon Huat was the only rider who attempted to chase the group but failed to latch on and fell back into the peloton.
Vingegaard attacked within the last 700m and held on for the win.
Choon Huat, a three-time Singapore road race national champion, rued what could have been.
"I tried to follow the breakaway and was hoping to hop on, but I was on the limit," said the 31-year-old.
"It was a pity because that was the winning move. Otherwise, I would have been in the (winning) breakaway with the yellow jersey (Vingegaard).
"But still, it was a dream come true to race alongside all these top riders. Overall, the atmosphere was great, and everybody really enjoyed it."
Harrif's elder brother, Zamri, said it was a challenging race due to the course and the competition.
"My goal was to stay at the front because this course has a lot of corners. I did not want to risk getting dropped," said the 39-year-old.
"It was a tough race. They controlled the pace, and it was tough for me to fight for the intermediate sprints."
Legendary sprinter Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was in his element in the intermediate sprints and took the points classification win.
TSG had, earlier in the day, finished a respectable seventh (+15s) out of 12 teams in the team time trial event.
Cofidis won in 3:49:08s, with Israel Premier-Tech (+3s) and Lotto Soudal (+4) taking second and third.