BALING: National team rider Nur Aiman Rosli will be sure to remember his Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) debut after unexpectedly taking charge of the white jersey (Asian riders classification) today.

Today’s third stage, which started in Jeli and ended in Baling (183.1km), featured four categorised climbs which split the peloton.

Aiman, however, was able to stay in the lead group and crossed the finish line a respectable sixth.

The 24-year-old is now tied on time atop the Asian classification with Thanakhan Chaiyasombat (Thailand Continental Cycling Team), but went into white as he has the superior stage placing aggregate.

The former Team Sapura Cycling rider was all smiles when met after the stage.

“I really did not expect to take the white jersey today,” said Aiman.

“My goal was just to stay with the front group for as long as I could and survive because I knew it would be tough with all the climbs and the rain.

“I was shocked when my coach (Yusof Nasir) told me that I was going on the podium.

“This is definitely a proud moment for me, but this is not just for me, it is for all Malaysians. I hope to continue doing well in the rest of the tour.”

Aiman is the first national team rider to take charge of the LTdL white jersey since Sofian Nabil Omar in 2019.

Teammate Zawawi Azman and Shaiful Adlan Shukri were part of the early breakaway and did well to place 1-3 at the first intermediate sprint in Jeli before rejoining the peloton.

However, it did not go to plan for Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team’s (TSG) Nur Aiman Zariff, who is the defending champion in the mountains classification (polka dot jersey).

Aiman was unable to join the breakaway group and suffered cramps in the second-half of the stage. He crossed the line 57 seconds behind the first group.

The 25-year-old is now 17 points behind Tudor Pro Cycling’s Simon Pellaud, who leads the mountains classification.

The fourth stage from Bukit Mertajam to Meru Raya tomorrow will see riders covering 140.2km.