Maumere, Flores. Australian rider Drew Morey of Terengganu Cycling Team pipped young Indonesian rider Jamal Hibatullah of KFC Cycling Team to win the opening stage of the 2017 Tour de Flores on Friday (14/07).
Jamal had a narrow lead into the last five kilometers of the Larantuka-Maumere route, but eventually succumbed to Morey, who finished two seconds earlier.
"It's a good race. A little bit difficult but I enjoyed it," Morey said at the finish line.
In three hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds, the 20-year-old Australian finished the 136.3-kilometer first stage consisting of two easy climbs and three sprints. According to www.cyclingarchives.com, this year Morey participated only in a few races, the last one being the 2017 Baw Baw Classic Race in Australia in April.
In March, he raced in the 2017 Oceania Continental Championships, also in Australia, as recorded by professional cycling statistics company Procyclingstats.com.
Jamal, only two months older than Morey, who for the second time participates in the Tour de Flores, said he did not even expect to reach the podium. "I was only concentrated on giving my best," he said.
Nevertheless, he has been the best in the Indonesian riders classification, which earns him the red and white jersey, and the best among Asean and Asian riders — marked by the white jersey.
The Best Climber title went to Wu Chih Hao from Taiwan's Action Cycling Team. The best sprinter was Hyeongmin Choe from the South Korea's Geumsan Insam Cello.
The tour's first stage was relatively uneventful. Iranian club Pishgaman Cycling Team tried hard, but eventually failed to break away from the peloton.
The race finally heated up, when 11 riders started to lead in the last 25 kilometers, creating a gap of almost two minutes.
Unfortunately, Jamal did not manage to maintain his dominant position and surrendered to Morey near the finish line.
The second stage will begin on Saturday at 9.00 a.m. Central Indonesia Time (WITA), and will cover 142.8 kilometers between Maumere and Ende.