Legazpi City—Samuel Hill wanted to take another stage win. But he crashed while negotiating a downhill route in Casiguran, Sorsogon.
That’s when his Nero Bianchi teammate Jesse Coyle took charge for his team and went on to take Stage 4 honors following a dramatic chase from a Malaysian rider in the Le Tour de Filipinas cycling competitions here on Monday.
As Hill staggered to the finish line with his jersey uniform in tatters and with bandages on his left knee and upper arms, Coyle ended up with his first-ever stage win in a race after he and Muhammad Shukri, who rides for Team Sapura, came up with a 1-2 finish.
The 24-year-old Coyle went up the podium to get his medal from Air21 chief executive Bert Lina, along with Team Taiyuan Miogee’s Jeroen Meijers, who is set to claim the general individual classification honors with still a day to go.
“We had Hill in the break. And then came the attack in the last 20 kilometers and I had to go hard,” said Coyle when he reached the finish line after eluding Sapura rider Muhammad Shukri as he entered Legazpi City.
Coyle, who hails from Sydney, reached the finish in front of a Jollibee outlet in Rizal St. in four hours, 28 minutes and 41 seconds at the end of the 176-kilometer run from Legazpi to Sorsogon City and back.
Shukri, who unrelentingly chased down Coyle following Hill’s mishap in the final 30 kilometers, submitted the same time with the Australian.
As a bruised and battered Hill arrived at the finish line in an ambulance, Coyle went on to celebrate his first stage title since turning professional three years ago.
Shukri’s teammate and Stage 2 winner Mario Vogt of Germany was 32 seconds behind Hill and Shukri, along with a 37-man main group.
Meijers remained as the overall classification leader for the fourth straight day and could claim the top individual overall honors.
He stayed with the main group from start to finish and logged a total time of 17 hours, three minutes and nine seconds.
A 45-second lead is still with Miejers, who is ahead of Terranganu’s Choon Huat Go, while Oliver Foods’ Angus Lyons is third (1:38). 7-Eleven’s Daniel Habtenmichael is 2:13 behind in fourth.
“The last part of the race in did not give me problems. And this is good for my teammates. One day to go,” said Miejers.
Nero Bianchi started putting pressure on a lot of riders in the first 20 kilometers after the Go For Gold rider Jonel Carcueva ruled the 2.2-kilometer King of the Mountain portion at the Forest Lake Memorial Park, as the reached a smooth downhill path to Sorsogon.
Hill led the charge with Carcueva, national team member Junrey Carcueva and 7-Eleven’s Nathanael Mebrathom in tow.
The chase went on with Hill with the lead group after Mebrathom ruled in the first sprint stage in Buhatan, Sorsogon.
Then, Hill gave way to Filipino riders once again in the second sprint run in Casiguran, which Carcueva ruled.
Then, he wobbled, crashed and fell on his left side when Hill tried to catch up with the two Filipino riders.
Navarra went on to claim a 10th-place finish while 7-Eleven’s Marcelo Felipe, who remained in the main group with Miejers, stayed on course for the best Filipino rider title.
“Pag-iigihin ko pa dahil lang ang pagitan,” said Marcelo, who is in contention with Mark Galedo, who is 2:34 behind him.