The three day tour in the Philippines kicked off today with a double stage day that made for a long energy draining day for all 200 plus competitors. It was a three man breakaway group that finished with strongman Lee Rodgers (Mossimo Cycling Team) edging out Colin Roberston (Franzia Wines) by 10 seconds and Michael Velasco (Inquirer Multisport) rounded out the top three.
How it unfolded
After the 70-strong elite field rolled out at 7am for a rather longish 18km neutral section, the race sprung to life on the 20km climb. Daniel Carruthers (Mossimo Cycling Team) was the first rider to attack and gained a threatening gap, which was joined by several other riders. The key contenders sensed this and immediately brought Carruthers back, and once the catch was made it was Lee Rodgers who made a counter-move when the road angled even steeper upwards, this created an immediate split in the field with Robertson and Velasco joining forces to leave the scrambling field in their wake. Another group of six formed behind the trio including Damian Barrett (Franzia Wines), Robert delos Reyes (VG & GE Trading Diagnostic), Ronnie Nacario (Aboitiz Power), Matt Kinch (Franzia Wines), Mark Cook (Franzia Wines) and Ricky Calla (Mossimo Cycling Team). This group finished nearly five minutes behind the winners while the main group a further three minutes down.
Stage Two – 30km TTT
Riders who were smart headed straight back to the Matabungkay Beach Resort to get clean, eat food and have a quick nap before the afternoon’s TTT which was held on a very challenging out and back undulating course finishing with a 2km climb. The Franzia Wines Cycling Team emerged as the winners, largely led by Colin Robertson and Mark Cook, but only by a scant 37 seconds over the Mossimo Cycling Team who only had Lee Rodgers and Daniel Carruthers doing 90% of the work on their Magnus road bikes. The Franzia Wines outfit definitely looked more the part with their high tech time trial rigs outfitted with disc wheels; it was surprising that they did not win by a larger margin. Team BVTC Jac Motors was a distinct third, 3min55secs behind.
As a result of the Franzia Wines Team win, Colin Robertson now slips into yellow and leads Lee Rodgers by 29 seconds. Damian Barrett (Franzia Wines) moves up to third overall, but 4min38 back. At this point, it looks like a two-man battle for the overall glory; however anything can happen during tomorrow’s 120km stage that features some more difficult climbs and tight windy roads through scenic Matabungkay. The later start time of 9am will allow the tired riders to sleep in a bit longer but the downside is that the racing will be held during the hottest part of the day and keeping well hydrated will be key to performing well. Sunday’s final stage is the 40km ITT and this is the ultimate stage where the true winner will emerge.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s action All photos taken by Jojo Rinoza, a talented local Filipino cycling photographer. He will have a website up and running soon and I will let you know his website once it is launched.
Colin Robertson also wrote an update which can be found on his Biketrainingtips website.