Asian Cycling: Manisha finishes a creditable sixth

Greater Noida, March 15 (IANS) G. Manisha produced India's best performance in the road race competition of the Hero Asian Cycling Championships by finishing sixth in the 71km race at the Buddh International Circuit here Friday.

It was a welcome performance from the Coimbatore rider in the women's juniors as India had failed to make an impact in the road races after winning four medals in the track events held at the Indira Gandhi velodrome.

Manisha completed the five lap race in an hour, 49 minutes and 58 seconds. Her time was seven seconds behind podium finishers Kiyoka Sakaguchi of Japan and Jordan's Razan Soboh, who were involved in a photo finish for second and third place.

Yao Pang of Hong Kong won the gold by pulling away from the pack, setting a time of 1:48.12. She has now won two medals in the competition after bagging three in the track events.

The road races test the riders' endurance levels and they were tested to the limit owing to hot conditions at the Buddh International Circuit. Nine women cyclists including Indians Bidhyalaxmi Devi and Chaitrali Pavsanker could not complete the race due to the heat.

But for birthday girl Manisha, it was a day to remember. "I was in the first bunch of riders until lap three. From there on, I could not match the pace of the leaders. I feel I lost out tactically," said the 18-year-old competing in her first international meet.

Earlier Friday, Kazakhstan displayed their supremacy in the road races by winning their third gold medal in the competition.

Kazakh Yerlen Pernebekov came out on top in the 99.4 km race for men junior riders, crossing the finishing line in two hours, 18 minutes and 12 seconds. His compatriot Dmitry Rive recorded the same time but was classified second.

Kazakhstan could have swept the podium but Maxim Shtyrbulov crossed the line a fraction of a second behind Japan's Saya Kuroeda to finish fourth.

Kazakhstan continues to lead the standings with three gold and silver medals each besides a bronze.

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