it was 5am, was awoken by the sound of serenity in the mountain top city of Tayatak. something drew me to wake up earlier than usual today and i remembered, I wanted the confirmation of yesterday’s results.
to the hotel lobby and there it was, the result booklet. now, we get confirmation that Peter has the KOM jersey and sits 3rd on GC. that would also mean, the team has an enormous task ahead, to protect two classifications.
the convoy to the start of Stage 3 was scheduled to leave at 730am, which means we had a lot of time… we had our breakfast in the ballroom and happened to shared our table with 7 of the podium girls. they were friendly but friendlier to our KOM leader Peter Pouly… let’s leave it as that :p
at 730am sharp, the cyclists left with the convoy thru the busy streets of Toyota. the journey took us thru some of the roads we took the previous day on stage 2. this time round, we get to truly enjoy the stunning view of the surroundings at a rather relaxed pace.
the start of this morning race has a backdrop of a beautiful church of Cavite. the atmosphere in the camp of Team Infinite Singha was relaxed, the riders are excited and was poised for an easy stage today as it’s mostly flat with only some minor climbs and one cat 3 KOM 30km from the finish.
the team had their usual last minute game plan and the signing on parade with the riders introduced to the city of Cavite once again.
today, Peter had the honors to stage on and was presented on the stage twice for coming in 3rd yesterday and then awarded the KOM jersey, as the first ever Mitsubishi KOM jersey wearer. this is also the first time a KOM jersey has been award in the history of this 4 year old Tour.
the race commenced at 10am sharp, with a neutral rolling along the mountain for the next 18km.
at Km0, the flag went down and immediately a rider from Malaysia shoots off and opened up a big gap… and there was some humor in the peleton when everyone sat up and showed the “time out” gesture…
riders that shot off to chase are often flown at but indeed… one rider from the Philippines went and the two riders were ahead.
back in the peleton, Peter has summoned Vincent to his side, had wanted him to save his energy and ride close to him. as he was reminding him of the riders to look out for… number 43 from Philippines shot off and he was one of the danger man Peter just asked Vincent mark.
rider #43 opened up a gap of maybe 200 metres and Vincent got the green light from Peter to chase him down but not to exert too much energy.
Vincent was quick to close him down and they also caught the earlier 2 breakaway riders. 10km into the race, this foursomes was joined by another 6 riders (of which was Feng Chun Kai, Taiwan national champion)
then came the first climb if the race and very quickly Vincent lost contact with the group only to realise if he had pressed on for another 300 metres, it would have been downhill.
so Vincent rejoined the main peleton and stayed in the front with his teammates. Peter has ordered the team to ride in front with him for now.
the gap of the leaders quickly rose to 1’35 secs. Team 7/11 has the duty to lead the peleton as their leader will not allow too much time for the breakaway as danger man sitting on GC 4th is ahead.
Morgan and Vincent also joined the 7/11 and Road Bike Philippines teams in the front sharing the work load.
at KM35, waterboy vinny had the orders to fetch water and there he went. today, it was much much easier for him as our team car is sitting 3rd in the order, all thanks to Peter!
as vinny made his way back up the peleton, he had realised that our team climber Alex was struggling. still, vinny made his way to the front, passed his load of supplies to his leader Peter and Morgan and went back to check on Alex.
Alex has told vinny that he is not well and suffering from food poisoning… he was finding it hard just to follow the peleton. all he could do now, is hang and see if he would feel better later.
so, the trio of Peter, Morgan and Vincent continued their march in front of the peleton, following just behind the pace setters. not forgetting there are still 9 riders ahead…
nothing exciting really happened until the first and only KOM… Peter and Morgan had asked Vincent to hang in there and get over the climb… and you know what… vinny hung in there real fine and soon, it was 30km of easy and relatively flat roads into the city of San Pablo and to the line… we then caught one of the early breakaway rider. he was no other than the rider that made the first move from Malaysia. good in him!
then, something happened!
just 20km or so to the finish, in the heart of a small city, we realised that the 8 leaders had slowed down and the chef commissaire car was also there. due to the heavy traffic and the failure to close the roads properly, the race came to a halt!
the peleton took this opportunity for a pee break, refuelled and we actually stopped the whole city traffic… and hear what the commissaires had to say.
the 8 breakaways were called out, put in front of the peleton, given a 1’30 secs head start after the roads were cleared all the way to the line.
so, we had 20km to go and a gap of 1’30 secs… the peleton seems contented to let the break go until with 5km to go…
at this point, the break had narrowed down to just 4… as the peleton continued to hunt them down.
Peter has moved himself up and asked vinny if he has the legs for a sprint. vinny was feeling good and followed Peter till the last 2km when a Dutch rider from Dutch global team cut vinny off and onto Peter’s wheel.
it was really chaotic with 2km to go… riders are fighting for position all over the place… but vinny found safe haven behind Peter’s line.
at this point, the Korean train came up and they seem to have control…
1km to go… it got even more chaotic as the road narrows… Peter was making his own way with the Dutch rider and vinny still in tow but the Korean seems to have a gap on us…
300 metres to the line… CRASHED!
Peter and Vinny somehow managed to avoid this carnage… just ahead, the Korean went 1 2, with their arms raised! winning the stage… so they thought!
only to find out, Feng Chun Kai had won the stage a minute earlier!!
we were glad we finished the stage safely and lost little time to the one and only danger man (#43) to Peter.
Peter regains his KOM! and keeps his spot on GC 3rd.