Asian Cycling: Uzbek rider tops elite race

Greater Noida, March 17 (IANS) Uzbekistan's Muradian Khalmuratov shot to fame by winning gold in the 156.2 km men's elite race on the concluding day of the Hero Asian Cycling Championships here Sunday.

The Uzbekistan rider had to be content with silver in the 2011 Asian Championships, but it was a double delight for Muradian at Buddh International Circuit as he had earlier won gold in the 42.6 km time trial event.

"India has proved to be lucky for me. I had never won two gold medals in my life before," said the Olympian who failed to finish his event in the London Games last year.

Muradian showed his maturity as he mixed calm with aggression to keep himself in the lead bunch even as Asian Tour leader Mehdi Sohrabi of Iran preferred to stay behind in the second lot.

With just one lap to go, Muradian, who kept a decent pace to stay in the hunt, made a calculated move to break away from the bunch comprising riders from Iran, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. "I don't like racing in a bunch because I am more of an individual racer. My strategy of going for the kill in the last two kilometres paid off as I took them by surprise."

The move worked to precision as Muradian opened up a huge gap between himself and the followers, finishing a good 12 seconds earlier than silver medal winner Arvin Goudarzi of Iran and 17 seconds ahead of Kazakhstan rider Andrey Mizurov, who bagged the bronze.

Meanwhile, four Indian cyclists Atul Kumar, Sombir Singh, Amresh Singh and Arvind Panwar were among 37 riders who failed to finish the race.

In the overall medals tally, Kazakhstan came out on top with three gold, four silver and two bronze medals in road events while Hong Kong and China finished second with two gold and a bronze each, followed by Uzbekistan who won two gold medals.

Earlier, Koreans proved to be the Asian giants of the track races held at the Indira Gandhi Celodrome, topping the chart with 12 gold, seven silver and as many bronze medals.

Malaysia ended second with seven gold, three silver and six bronze while Hong Kong came third with seven gold, two silver and a bronze.

For India, Deborah and Manorama were pick of the cyclists in the junior class while Manisha and Geeturaj showed promise at the highest level.

Deborah had won three medals including one alongside Manorama, who came with a brilliant run to win silver in the keirin event.