Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Harrif makes return to scratch racing

PETALING JAYA: Making a switch from the road back to the track should pose no problem for cyclist Mohd Harrif Salleh.

The rising sprinter, who chalked two second-place finishes with professional outfit Terengganu Pro-Asia in the 2.HC status Tour of Hainan two weeks ago, will feature in the scratch race in the Games.
“It shouldn’t be a problem. Scratch race is like second nature to me,” he said.

Another change: Mohd Harrif Salleh will be switching from road back to the track to take part in the scratch race.
It was track racing that propelled the Terengganu-born Harrif to the forefront of cycling. He sprang a surprise in the 2007 Asian Cycling Championships in Bangkok where he won the gold medal in the event.
“It’s like going back to my origins. I started by making an impact in track racing and, after a long time away, I’m glad to be back again.

“Scratch race is my favourite track event and I hope, with the progress I’ve made in road racing, I will be successful in the Games,” said the 23-year-old.

Scratch racing is much like road races, only it is over multiple laps in a velodrome. The first rider to cross the finish line is the winner.

Prior to making a move to the Terengganu Pro-Asia outfit, Harrif was part of the national elite cycling squad based in Melbourne.

He joined the Terengganu team in late 2010 and almost had his first stage win as a professional in the Tour of Langkawi in March this year.

“I was so close, only narrowly losing to Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini of team Farnese Vini,” recalled Harrif.

“It has been a while since I donned the national jersey and I am proud to be once again wearing it. I must thank the coaches (Grahams Seers and John Beasley) for their faith in me,” said Harrif.


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