Aussie seizes 2nd stage

Le Tour de Filipinas’ top three riders hang on

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CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela—Luke Parker of Australia overcame a blowout to capture the second stage of the 2013 Le Tour de Filipinas yesterday.

The track specialist of the Australia-based Perth Cycling Team lost about 50 seconds as he changed tires halfway through the race in Enrile, Cagayan, where the 74 riders negotiated the day’s only climb.

Parker managed to join the peloton and reserve his strength for a final burst of speed in the final 300 meters that boosted him ahead of Jan Paul Morales of Standard Insurance at the end of a massed finish.

“I was riding flat for a long stretch before help came,” said Parker, who timed five hours, seven minutes and 54 seconds in claiming his first stage victory on a UCI Asian Tour.

“My teammates set me up for the perfect position and I pedaled hard to the finish,” added Parker.

Morales, a fine sprinter like Parker, nosed out Caleb Jones of continental squad CCN Cycling for third at the end of the largely flat 196-kilometer route from Aparri, Cagayan.

Opening-stage winner Lee Ki-suk of CCN kept the yellow jersey by finishing in Parker’s group. The Korean sprinter led Douglas Repacholi of Perth by 13 seconds with Iranian Ghader Mizbani Iranagh third overall, 15 seconds back.

“I’ll try to keep the lead for another day,” said Lee. “But I’m not sure if I could hold onto it in the mountains.”

Parker pulled over on a hill after riding flat for about half a kilometer before masterfully guiding himself back into the peloton in Quezon, Isabela.

After weathering a heavy downpour in Stage 1, the riders braved yesterday’s sweltering heat as a four-man pack broke free from the peloton early.

Cris Joven of American Vinyl, Daniel Asto of Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, Thomas Rabou of OCBC Singapore and Samir Jabrayilov of Synergy Baku Cycling Project launched an attack after 20 km and built a gap of almost four minutes entering the Cagayan provincial border in Enrile town.

But a huge wave of riders eventually swallowed them up in the final straightaway on Cabatuan Road entering the city in the last 4 km.

Also finishing in the top 10 in the stage and matching Parker’s clocking were Malaysians Mazuki Nur Amirull Fakhruddin and Mat Senan Mohammed Saufi of Terrenganu Cycling, Team 7-Eleven Road Bike’s Jerry Aquino Jr. and Iranian Mehdi Sohrabi of Tabriz Petrochemical followed by Nicolas Edmundo of American Vinyl, yellow-jersey holder Lee and Rustom Lim of LBC.

Today’s 104-km race to Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya, features a moderate climb in Diadi, 37 km to the finish.

The four-day UCI-sanctioned race, presented by Air21 in cooperation with San Miguel Corp. and Smart, ends on Tuesday in Baguio City.

Stage Individual Classification

1. Parker, Luke (COP) 5:07:54, 2. Morales, Jan Paul (MAR) same time, 3. Jones, Caleb (CCN) same time, 4. Mazuki Nur Amirull Fakhrudd (TSG) same time, 5. Mat Senan Mohammad Saufi (TSG) same time, 6. Aquino, Jerry Jr. (T7E) same time, 7. Sohrabi, Mehdi (TPT) same time, 8. Nicolas, Edmundo Jr. (AVL) same time, 9. Lee Ki Suk (CCN) same time, 10. Lim, Rustom (LBC) same time, 11. Brioso, Jemico (LBC) same time, 12. Aleonar, March Mcquinn (MAR) same time.

Individual General Classification

1. Lee Ki Suk (CCN) 9:43:17, 2. Repacholi, Douglas (COP) 0:13, 3. Mizbani Iranagh Ghader (TPT) 0:15, 4. Askari Hossein (TPT) 0:18, 5. Jones, Caleb (CCN) 0:48, 6. Kolahdoz Hagh Amir (TPT) same time, 7. Safarzadeh Saeid (TPT) same time, 8. Parker, Luke (COP) 3:26, 9. Nohales Nieto, Edgar (PSN) 3:37, 10. Ebsen John (BCP) 3:39, 11. Fitrianto, Hari (CCN) same time, 12. Hamilton, Tom (COP) 3:48, 13. Hualda, Ronnel (T7E) 7:16, 14. Spurrell, Tyler (COP) same time, 15. Nederlof Lex (CCN) same time, 16. Reynante, Lloyd Lucien (MAR) same time, 17. Calderon, Joel (NAV) 7:23, 18. Wang Yiu Chih (CCN) 7:29, 19. Ravina, Jonipher (T7E) 7:34, 20. Galedo, Mark John Lexer (T7E) same time

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