Daet—German rider Mario Vogt took charge early and never let up to win the top honors in the challenging Old Zigzag Road inside Quezon National Park in Atimonan.
The 27-year-old Vogt stayed with a nine-man lead pack while going down the fabled Tatlong Eme route. There were only three riders left when he crossed the finish line at the end of the 194.9-kilometer route along Vinzons Ave.
Baton-twirling majorettes and upbeat music greeted Vogt when he finally took Stage 2 honors of the Pagbilao, Quezon to Daet, Camarines Norte leg of the Le Tour de Filipinas 2019 cycling competitions here.
Vogt, who is with Team Sapura of Malaysia, finished in four hours, 49 minutes and six seconds, together with Team Ukyo of Japan’s Kohei Uchima, who was just a meter behind him.
“I tried to attack in the last kilometer. But the other guy followed me,” said Vogt, who was still dizzy from the hot afternoon weather.
It was Vogt’s fifth stage victory since taking Stage 1 Prologue honors in the Tour of Cartier last year. He also won the overall individual crown in the Tour of Iskandar last April.
Terrangganu’s Goh Chu Huat (Singapore) managed to catch up and was five seconds behind in third place.
National team member Jan Paul Morales settled for fourth and was with a 21-man main group which ended up in 4th to 24th positions, with 7-Eleven’s Daniel Habtemichael and Marcelo Felipe in the group.
Climbing from 29th place in Stage 1 in Tagaytay City last Friday, Vogt cut overall leader and Dutch rider Jeroen Miejers’ lead time.
Miejers’ advantage of one minute and 39 seconds after Stage 1 is now down to 45 seconds.
National team rider Jhon Mark Camingao went for the King of the Mountain honors during a 2.7 climb up a stretch of road inside the Quezon National Park, with 7-Eleven’s Nathnael Mebrathom following him in second, while Go For Gold’s Elmer Navarro placed third.
When they left the Tatlong Eme route, and went downhill, Vogt went for the lead with teammate Muhsin Misbah, and national team rider Junrey Navarra in a nine-man group.
The nine-man pack, which also included Uchima, Go Lishuan of Taiyuan Miogee, Mehbratom and Nero Bianchi’s Samuel Hill stayed together in the last 50 kilometers.
This group of riders were still intact after Goh took the first sprint stage at the outskirts of Bulangin, Atimonan some 30 kilometers into the race.
They were still together until Vogt claimed the second sprint stage with 142 kms left inside Gumaca, Quezon.
With rains cooling everyone down in the last 50 kilometers, a four-man group composed of Vogt, Goh, Uchima and Hill took the lead upon entering Labo, Camarines Norte as soon as they negotiated a 200-meter stretch of rough roads.
And when Vogt made his move in the final kilometer, Hill fell behind when he took a spill.
Habtemichael was supposed to join in the attack while in Labo. But Habtemichael aborted his move to help Marcelo Felipe, who sustained a flat tire.
Habtemichael’s teammate Dominic Perez was in the main peloton and took ninth place.
Camingao struck with the second group after the KOM stage and took 12th position.
Because of Vogt, Goh now trails Meijers by 45 seconds and this gave Goh an opportunity to get the overall honors. Miejers, who was in 21st position, was also in the main peloton which was 3:05 behind the German.
Angus Lyons of Oliver Foods-Australia was 1:43 behind Miejers.
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