Legazpi City—Dutch rider Jeroen Meijers did nothing special yesterday as he took the overall classification honors on the final day of Le Tour de Filipinas 2019 here as his two remaining teammates did all the work and helped him protect his leadership in the five-day bikefest.
The 26-year-old Meijers just stayed with the main peloton and watched from a comfortable distance as German rider Mario Vogt claimed his second stage win.
“We attacked in the beginning at the start of the climb. We were together and we took control in the first 35 kilometers of the race,” said Meijers, who is from Tillburg in the Netherlands and rides for Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team.
Meijers relied on his Taiyuan teammates Edgar Nieto and Li Shuai, who helped him keep the overall leadership after team their teammate Mohammad Rasim crashed in the first 10 kilometers.
After five stages, Singaporean Choon Huat Goh remained 45 seconds behind Meijers, who logged a total time of 20 hours, 38 minutes and seven seconds.
Australian Angus Lyons was third, followed in fourth by Team 7-Eleven’s Daniel Habtemichael.
With a hot morning sun sapping the strength of many riders, Vogt, who is with Team Sapura, was all by himself at the finish line. Vogt clocked a time of 3 hours, 33 minutes and 39 seconds when he was done at the end of the Legazpi City to Donsol-and-back race.
Fresh from his general classification victory in the Tour of Iskandar, Vogt went on to claim his second stage win since taking the Stage 2 honors during the long Pagbilao-Daet run.
The 27-year-old Vogt made his push in the 1-km sprint stage in Ogod, Donsol. He took the sprint honors and towed an eight-man lead group that stayed with Vogt in the final 96.8 kilometers.
Then, the German left the lead group behind with still 10 kilometers left.
“Very hot. Very hot stage. At the start, it was very hot. In the breakaway, it was all up and down, all up and down. I’m happy it’s finished now,” said Vogt.
Three Filipino riders, led by Team 7-Eleven rider Dominic Perez, joined the chase on Vogt, which started in the last 103 kilometers when they reached a bend in Donsol Road.
Perez finished in second place in the stage as the five members of a seven-man group following Vogt fell behind by 62 seconds.
With Perez were during the initial breakaway were national team member Junrey Navarra and Go For Gold’s Jericho Lucero, Indonesian Jamilidin Novardianto, Malaysian Mohd Zamri Saleh, Thai rider Warut Paekratok and Stage 3 winner Jesse Coyle.
Saleh, Novardianto, Paekratok, Coyle and Navarra were only ones in the lead pack that tried to stay in the chase with Vogt.
The 35-year-old Saleh, a bronze medallist in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games criterium, settled for a third-place finish in the stage.
7-Eleven rider Marcelo Felipe was with a 25-man main group that had a time gap of 65 seconds with Vogt.
Felipe’s 26th-place finish denied him a chance to be in the Top 10 of the overall classification and some Olympic qualification points.
But Felipe still claimed the overall best Filipino rider award, beating Celeste Cycles Mark Galedo by 2 minutes and 34 seconds.
Team Ukyo claimed the overall classification crown, with Taiyuan and PGN in second and third, respectively.