Downhill attack gives Samuel Hill breakthrough win win

Downhill attack gives Samuel Hill breakthrough win win

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — Dutchman Jeroen Meijers of Taiyuan Miogee Cycling Team of China kept his pursuers in check and kept the purple jersey even as Aussie Samuel Hill of Team Nero Bianchi of Australia achieved what he had failed to do the previous day when he ruled Stage 3 of the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas yesterday here.

Hill, 23, outsprinted local bets Dominic Perez of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines and former champion Mark Galedo of Celeste Cycles-Bianchi Phls in the final 10-kilometer downhill stretch to top the 183.7 km stage, which started in Daet, Camarines Norte and ended at Rizal Avenue here, in four hours, 33 minutes and 12 seconds.

It was the first lap victory for Hill, a tall rider from Newcastle, who blew his chance at a podium finish in Stage 2 due to a punctured tire.

“I couldn’t feel possibly better,” said Hill. “This is the best feeling ever because yesterday (Saturday) was such a bad day. I’m so sad because of what happened. I’ve withdrawn from the break.

“So to win today, I can’t really express it in any way. It really means so much to me and it’s my first UCI win ever, so I’m really stoked about it,” he added.

Hill said pacing was the key.

“Last 10 kms, I knew it’s going to be downhill and because I’m a big guy, I go downhill pretty well and I thought if I could just get a headstart on the downhill, I should go out and stay away. That was my plan from basically as soon as the break. I knew exactly where I should make my move,” he said.

Perez, 24, checked in at second in 4:34:03 while the 33-year-old Galedo, who reigned in this same race five years ago, came in third in 4:34:06.

It was the first double podium finish for the Filipinos in this five-stage International Cycling Union-sanctioned race after succumbing to the strong foreign challenge headed by the 26-year-old Meijers, who took the lead with a Stage 1 triumph in Tagaytay City last Friday and held sway after the Pagbilao-Daet Stage 2.

Perez said they tried to give a chase but Hill proved too fast in this race sponsored by Air21, Cargohaus, NMM, Ufreight, SPL and marked by the full cooperation of the PNP, AFP and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

“We tried to stay with him but he was just too strong in the sprint,” said Perez, a native of Santo Tomas, Pangasinan, in Filipino.

After almost losing grip of the leader’s jersey, Meijers stuck with Singaporean Goh Choon Huat of Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team of Malaysia and checked in with the peloton that posted identical clocking of 4:35:06.