LEGAZPI CITY — Wesley Sulzberger of Kinan Cycling Team joined an early breakaway before a last push helped him secure Stage Three of the 7th Le Tour de Filipinas on Saturday, the second to last day of competition.
The 29-year-old Australian rider sprinted away in the last 300 meters to top the penultimate stage with a time of four hours, 27 minutes, 55 seconds, completing an ambitious early attack with five other riders in the first eight kilometers of the lap.
Guy Kalma of Attaque Team Gusto finished second two seconds behind the stage winner, while 2012 Le Tour champion Baler Ravina of 7-Eleven Sava BRP settled for third place with a time of 4:28:15.
Sulzberger said he was confident that he will win the stage after riding in a breakaway that included Ravina and defending champion Thomas Lebas of Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team.
“I started very strong. My legs were very good from the start. The last 30 kilometers, I can see that the others were very tired so I knew I will get the victory today,” said Sulzberger.
“I was ready to put my hand in the air to win the race,” he added.
Oleg Zemlyakov of Vino 4-Ever Sko Kazakhstan kept the yellow jersey with a total clocking of 13:43:22, just 19 seconds ahead of teammate Yevgeniy Gidich to set up a possible 1-2 finish for Kazakhstan going into fourth and final stage, a 160.20-kilometer out-and-back in towns around the scenic Mayon Volcano.
Jesse James Ewart, an Australian rider for the Philippine-based 7-Eleven Sava BRP, is third in the general classification, 22 seconds behind Zemlyakov in the race presented by Air21 with Petron, MVP Sports Foundation and Smart as principal sponsors and Cargohaus, NMM, UFL, Philippine Airlines, Collab Printing Solutions, Autonation, Orangefix and Phenom as major sponsors.
Marcelo Felipe of 7-Eleven is still the best-placed Filipino in seventh place in the overall classification, 1:25 behind Zemlyakov, while Rustom Lim of the Philippine national team climbed to ninth, with a 2:04-gap from the yellow jersey. Ravina jumped to 14th, seven minutes behind.
Despite being part of the Sulzberger lead group that at one point held an eight-minute advantage, Lebas fell back after suffering flat tires on twice. He entered Stage Three with a 10-minute deficit over Zemlyakov.