Cariño, Oranza fail to make cut
Flying Dutch Jeroen Meijers of Taiyuan Miogee Team claimed Stage 1 victory by besting all racers, including top locals Joshua Cariño and Ronald Oranza on Friday in the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas.
Stage 1 started and finished at the Praying Hands Monument in Tagaytay City.
Meijers, 26, methodically negotiated the steep Sampaloc Road in Talisay, Batangas that propelled him straight to the solo general classification lead with a time of 3 hours, 6 minutes and 59 seconds.
It was the second podium finish for Meijers after he wound up third in Stage 1 of the Tour of Taiyuan in China on his way to finishing third overall in that race two weeks ago.
“I was here six days and I knew the climb was going to be steep so I just took my time at the beginning before I stepped on it late,” said Meijers.
Checking in at second was Angus Lyons of Oliver’s Real Food Racing of Australia, who clocked 3:08:38, while 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines’ Daniel Habtemichael of Eritria ended up at third in 3:09:06.
Marcelo Felipe, who skippers 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 Roadbike Philippines, prevented an all-foreigner top 10 and finished in 3:09:25.
Cariño and Oranza, in contrast, faltered under tremendous pressure. They both suffered cramps and failed to make the cutoff that led to their elimination.
Cariño said he missed full-regimen training in the past four days while Oranza rued dehydration as the culprit.
“Cramps,” said a frustrated Cariño.
For Oranza, the diarrhea that hit him last week zapped the energy out of him.
“Hindi pa ako nakaka-recover masyado (I haven’t fully recovered),” Oranza said.
The absence of Cariño and Oranza left the national team, all from the heralded Navy-Standard Insurance squad, with just three riders —Junrey Navarra, Jhon Mark Camingao and Jan Paul Morales.
Navarra, a dark horse to win in this stage being the many-time King of the Mountain winner in local races, placed 20th in 3:12:21 while Camingao and Morales placed 24th and 25th with times of 3:15:15 and 3:15:25.
The race will resume Saturday with the 194.9-km Stage Two, starting in Pagbilao, Quezon, and ending in Daet, Camarines Norte, with Meijers wearing the purple jersey symbolic of the general classification lead.
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