CAMARINES NORTE, Philippines – Without a second to spare, German cyclist Mario Vogt, of Malaysia-based Team Sapura Cycling won Stage 2 of the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas at Daet, Camarines Norte on Saturday, June 15.
Clocking in at 4 hours, 49 minutes and 6 seconds, Vogt was declared the stage winner over Team Ukyo’s Kohei Uchima of Japan who also registered the same official time.
Vogt is no stranger to winning, as he most recently won the general classification in the Tour of Iskandar Johor in Malaysia last April.
Choon Huat Goh of Malaysia’s Terengganu Cycling Team finished 3rd (4:49:11) to complete the lead group while Philippine national team cyclist Jan Paul Morales barely missed a podium finish at 4th place (4:52:11).
Morales and the next 20 riders from the peloton registered an official time of 4:52:11 as their places were determined through millisecond gaps.
After the stunning fallout of 2018 Le Tour champion El Joshua Cariño and teammate Ronald Oranza from the opening round, the Philippine national team bounced back through Morales’ 4th-place finish along with Jhon Mark Camingao, who jumped to 12th place for Stage 2 as part of the 21-man tie at 4:52:11.
Meanwhile, Marcelo Felipe of Team 7-Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines finished 24th (4:52:11) and remained as the fastest Filipino rider with a total time of 8:01:36 so far.
Stage 1 winner Jeroen Meijers of China’s Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team settled for 21st place among the 4:52:11 peloton tie and still kept the purple jersey as the overall leader (7:59:00) in the individual general classification (GC).
Felipe is confident that he has a shot at winning the individual GC, as he is currently just 2 minutes and 36 seconds behind Meijers and 26 seconds behind his Eritrean teammate Daniel Habtemichael after Stage 2.
“Sa pang-apat, segundo lang yung [agwat] sakin, kaya may pag-asa pa rin ako,” he said after the race. (I’m just seconds apart from the 4th-placer, so I still have hope.)
But right now, Felipe is more concerned in protecting their standing at the team classification, which is currently led by Vogt’s Team Sapura (14:33:28).
“Bukas po medyo easy na ‘yung ruta pero di pa rin natin masasabi,” he said. “Kokontrolin lang kasi syempre lahat yan naghahangad kasi segundo lang yung labanan ng second hanggang sa amin. Para sa’kin yung trabaho ko para sa team ko.”
(The route is easier tomorrow but we can’t really tell. We’ll just control because of course, everyone is hoping for the best and we’re just seconds apart from the 2nd placer.)
Stage 2 was the longest leg of this year’s five-stage Le Tour, spanning 194.9 kilometers from flag start at Pagbilao Park, Quezon to Hotel Dolor in Daet, Camarines Norte.
It featured a 2.7-kilometer King of the Mountain climb through the zigzagging roads of Quezon Forest National Park as well as two sprint zones near the towns of Atimonan and Gumaca, Quezon before culminating in a 4-km straight-road dash to the finish line at Daet from neighboring town Talisay.
The 183.7-km stretch of Stage 3 will commence on Sunday, June 16 at 9:30 am and will run from Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte to Rizal Avenue in Legazpi City, Albay. – Rappler.com