SORSOGON CITY — British cyclist David Whitehouse made a solo move towards Mt. Bulusan, topped the first King of the Mountain climb en route to victory in Saturday’s rain-drenched Stage One of the 8th Le Tour de Filipinas from Legazpi City to this southernmost city of Luzon.
The 22-year-old rider for Malaysian continental team Terengganu Cycling broke away on the ascent and was not threatened, going on a solo finish in three hours, 56 minutes, and 16 seconds in the 164.49-km race.
Benjamin Hill of Attaque Team Gusto and 2015 Le Tour champion Thomas Lebas of Kinan Cycling finished a minute and 51 seconds later.
Guy Kalma and Mario Vogt of Attaque made a break halfway into the race, but Whitehouse caught up before the climb.
The pursuers did not push after the first KOM point and Whitehouse, winner of the Tour de Flores in Indonesia last year, managed to build a two-minute lead in the remaining 50 kilometers.
“I saw there is one climb in the course so it was kinda all or nothing,” said Whitehouse in describing the stage.
“It’s a long tour. We are here for the general classification and the stages and so it’s either I get caught or I finish in front. I had nothing to lose.”
Mark Galedo of 7-Eleven Sava RBP was the best-placed Filipino rider at 13th, but already nine minutes and 12 seconds behind.
“For me, I’m British so it’s normal. If it rains, I get wet,” said Whitehouse, who will wear the yellow jersey for Stage Two, a 177.35-kilometer route from Sorsogon City to Naga City on Sunday in the race sponsored by Air21 and organized by UBE Media, backed by Sorsogon with Petron and UPS as principal sponsor and Philippine Airlines as official partner.