Dutch cyclist Meijers wins 10th Le Tour de Filipinas; top Pinoy finishes 11th

JR Isaga
Dutch cyclist Meijers wins 10th Le Tour de Filipinas; top Pinoy finishes 11th
Jeroen Meijers clinches his 2nd Union Cycliste International (UCI) title in the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas

MANILA, Philippines – Using savvy time management, Dutch cyclist Jeroen Meijers of China’s Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team cruised to the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas overall championship at Legazpi City, Albay on Tuesday, June 18.

Closing the five-stage event with a total time of 20 hours, 38 minutes and 7 seconds, the 26-year-old semi-pro won his 2nd Union Cycliste International (UCI) title – his first since the France Kreiz Breizh Elites in 2016.

“It was great. It was really hot. Took control for 4 days and we lost two guys very soon, so I only had two teammates, but they did a great job riding 4 days in the front,” he said in the post-race scrum.

“We never lost control of the race, so it was really good.”

German rider Mario Vogt gave everything he had in the last day and easily won the final leg with a time of 3:33:39, but only finished 12th in the final general classification (GC) standings. Nevertheless, he brought home $1,090 (P56,680) for his stage win while Meijers banked in $2,725 (P141,700) for winning the overall title.

After clinching the GC top 10 after Stage 4, Marcelo Felipe of Team 7-Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines (7RP) fell to 11th (20:40:43) after a tiebreaker against eventual 10th-placer Shuai Li of Taiyuan Miogee (20:40:43).

Filipino bet Dominic Perez of Team 7RP led the 7-man Stage 5 lead group for one more second-place finish (3:34:41) while Mohd Zamri Saleh (3:34:41) of Malaysia’s Terangganu INC TSG Cycling Team completed the podium at 3rd. Perez also won the stage’s lone intermediate sprint at Donsol, Sorsogon.

It was a mad scramble from the get-go as 8 cyclists jockeyed for position in the lead group as early as 30 kilometers in.

As Meijers hung back with the peloton for the entirety of the 138.1-km leg, the lead group pulled away as far as 3 minutes from the pack, all of them trying to shave off precious seconds from their own GC time.

However, even with Vogt’s mad dash to the finish line, the lead group’s efforts were all for naught as Meijers never relinquished his purple jersey en route to the Le Tour title.

Terangganu’s Choon Huat Goh failed to cut into his 45-second deficit against Meijers and settled as a runner-up in the GC (20:38:52) while Aussie cyclist Angus Lyons of Oliver’s Real Food Racing nabbed 3rd place. Goh pocketed $1,365 (P70,980) while Lyons settled for $675 (P35,100).

Meanwhile, Eritrean import Daniel Habtemichael of the Philippines’ Team 7RP (20:40:20), Sandy Nur Hasan (20:40:32) and Aiman Cahyadi (20:40:39) of Indonesia’s PGN Road Cycling Team, Kohei Yokotsuka (20:40:39) and Naoya Yoshioka (20:40:41) of Japan’s Team Ukyo and Mushin Al Redha Misbah (20:40:42) of Malaysia’s Team Sapura Cycling filled in the 4th to 9th final GC spots.

Stage 5 was a shorter lap across the towns of Pilar and Donsol before circling back for a third-straight finish at Legazpi City Hall. It featured a 2.2-km King of the Mountain tretch at Highlands Legazpi, which was won by Ismael Grospe, Jr. of Go for Gold Philippines.

Overall, the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas ran for a total of 822.2 kilometers starting from Tagaytay City last Thursday, June 13. Last year’s winner and Philippine National Team member El Joshua Carino failed to defend his title after bottoming out at 62nd place in the very first stage. – Rappler.com

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