Meijers stays afloat as Le Tour concludes
LEGAZPI City—With the anticipated windy and rolling terrain left to hurdle in the final stage, the Netherlands’ Jeroen Meijers’ main concern right now is to be able to identify—and fend off—last-ditch efforts by his pursuers to knock him off his perch.
The general classification pacesetter retained the purple jersey of overall leadership Monday after safely staying in the main peloton in the penultimate fourth stage of the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas won by Australian Jesse Coyle.
Riding for Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team, Meijers, the opening-stage winner in Tagaytay City, arrived with a platoon of riders, including his closest challengers, to keep the GC for the fourth straight day.
“I just stayed with them throughout the race,” said Meijers after arriving just 32 seconds behind the lap winner in completing the 176-kilometer out-and-back ride to this city popular for the picturesque view of Mayon Volcano.
For the second straight stage, Team Nero Bianchi topped the podium with Coyle edging Shukri Mohd of Team Sapura Cycling in a two-man sprint. Both clocked four hours, 28 minutes and 41 seconds.
“One day to go, let’s see what happens tomorrow,” said Meijers, who still holds a 45-second advantage over Singapore’s Choon Huat Goh and enjoys a 1:38 lead over Australian Angus Lyons in this UCI 2.2 category race which offers ranking points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Mario Vogt, who conquered the longest race from Tagaytay City to Daet, Camarines Norte, in Stage 2, completed the podium 32 seconds later after towing the big group featuring the owner of the purple jersey.
Tuesday’s final stage is way shorter than the last three laps, a 145.80-km trip to Donsol, Sorsogon.
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