GENTING HIGHLANDS: National team rider Shaiful Adlan Shukri emerged as the best Malaysian rider in the fifth stage of Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) today.

The tour’s queen stage started in Slim River and ended with a torturous hors categorie summit finish in Genting Highlands (126.4km).

Adlan placed a decent 33rd overall from 121 riders, crossing the line seven minutes and 17 seconds down on stage winner Simon Carr (EF Education-EasyPost).

His teammates Nur Aiman Rosli and Zawawi Azman were the second and third best Malaysians on the day after placing 37th (+9:09s) and 50th (+11:46s).

The trio are all former Team Sapura Cycling riders.

Adlan, 25, said he was pleased with his performance after enduring a challenging start to the UCI ProSeries tour.

“My goal in the third stage (Monday) was to challenge for the white jersey (Asian riders classification), but unfortunately I suffered cramps in the last 30km. We had been working for the sprinters in most of the earlier stages, but as a climber, I knew that it would be my responsibility (to lead) today.

“I am quite happy with my performance today considering the circumstances. As you know, Sapura closed down earlier this year and I briefly stopped cycling after that.

“I have to thank coach Yusof Nasir for placing his faith in myself, as well as the other (former Sapura) riders. We were able to train here (Genting Highlands) once before the tour, and that definitely helped us prepare.”

Adlan added that he will be focusing on supporting sprinters Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil and Zulhelmi Zainal in the remaining three stages. The Terengganu-born rider is highly rated, but his development suffered a number of unfortunate setbacks.

Adlan joined Sapura as one of their young riders in 2019, but had limited opportunities to race for them between 2020-2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sapura closed down in June after failing to secure new sponsorship for the team.

The sixth stage of LTdL tomorrow will start in Karak and end in Bandar Hilir, Melaka (174.5km).