BY: Michelle Liew
Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team (TSG) rider, Muhammad Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff has expressed his desire for a better performance to avoid missing out on the status of King of the Hill at the Mountains classification (Red Jersey) ahead of the climax of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL).
Muhammad Nur Aiman, who started in the second stage from Kuala Klawang to Raub, said the change in the route of the seventh stage yesterday gave him an advantage to continue to maintain control of his position.
The original route of the seventh stage would have been from Kuah to the top of Gunung Raya. Instead, it has been changed to go around Pekan Kuah due to weather conditions in addition to floods and landslides on the original route on Sunday.
"It was a relief for me when the Gunung Raya route was changed, and there is still a chance to keep this (red) jersey and aim for victory. I just have to be careful with my points," he told reporters.
Muhammad Nur Aiman is currently tied at 29 points with his teammate, Jambaljamts Sainbayar, and is closely followed by Movistar Team rider, Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo who collected 25 points in the fight for the King of the Hill title.
"Sainbayar is now focused on the white jersey (Asia's Best), as well as Sosa (Overall Leader), so my rivals are the riders from the United Kingdom and Australia (Hugh Carthy and Carter Bettles) because the gap with me is also not that far," he stated.
The 25-year-old rider explained that he also expected the race to be more challenging ahead of the last LTdL race involving the same route used in the seventh stage yesterday.
"I expect the race to be more challenging. They are competitive riders, I have to be alert and always follow closely behind them so that they don't overtake me in the fight for the red jersey," he said.
Today's final race involves 115.9 kilometers (km) which provides three acceleration zones and three climbing zones.