by Nick Giongco
LEGAZPI CITY – The Philippines finally caught up with the rest of the foreign contingent after Dominic Perez and former champion Mark Galedo finished second and third behind Stage 3 winner Samuel Hill of Australia on Sunday as the Le Tour de Filipinas enters the final two phases.
Hill of Team Nero Bianchi clocked four hours and 12 seconds in conquering the 183.7-kilometer lap that began in Daet, Camarines Norte.
Perez of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 came in 51 seconds later (4:34.03) with Galedo, the 2014 champion of the event, right behind (4:34.06).
Hill, a 23-year-old from Newcastle, was a part of a five-man lead pack that broke away early.
“To win today, I could not express it. It means so much,” said Hill, who described Perez and Galedo as “very strong.”
The major move by the Filipino riders and Hill’s surprise win, however, didn’t jumble the overall standings with Dutch first lap winner Jeiron Meijers maintaining his possession of the purple jersey, symbol of overall leadership, followed by Goh Choon Huat of Terengganu TSG Cycling and Angus Lyons of Oliver’s Real Food.
Host entry Felipe Marcelo of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 is at tenth spot overall, two minutes and 36 behind Meijers.